MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson was stunned by White House adviser Peter Navarro’s insistence that President Donald Trump had forcefully denounced white supremacists.
Debate moderator Chris Wallace asked the president to denounce white supremacists, and Joe Biden suggested the right-wing Proud Boys — but Trump demurred and instead urged the extremist group to “stand back and stand by,” which they swiftly incorporated into their logo.
“I think that moment for me underscored just how poor Chris Wallace did as a debate moderator,” Navarro told Jackson. “There is an expression in boxing, there is a cut man in a corner, Chris Wallace’s function as Joe Biden’s cut man and also as a second debater on the president and when he asked the president.”
Jackson tried to direct Navarro back to her question about the Proud Boys.
“I’m going to get do that,” Navarro said. “When he asked the president the question about that, the president said, of course, he started to say, of course he would denounce that, and Wallace cut him off. So I’m not — I think the president has made it clear that he wants no part of that kind of stuff, what the president also made clear, I think, it is a good distinction between Joe Biden and the president is, the president is for law and order.”
Jackson tried to pin Navarro down, saying that almost everyone who watched the debate agreed Trump had not condemned his white supremacist supporters.
“People have ears, they heard what the president said,” Jackson said. “When asked about the Proud Boys and didn’t denounce them, he did not do that. He said, in fact, ‘stand by.’ Why want he more forceful about that, and do you believe he needs to clear that up?”
Navarro refused to say, and instead complained again about the moderator.
“That’s not for me to say,” he said. “What I saw last night was Chris Wallace interrupting him when the president was about to clear that up, and the president and Chris Wallace, I mean that — I thought it was Chris Wallace let that thing get out of hand and then he was Joe Biden’s cut man.”
Jackson asked if he was blaming Wallace for the president’s refusal to denounce those followers.
“The president denounced white supremacists repeatedly,” Navarro insisted. “You aren’t hearing that. What I think Chris Wallace did last night was basically serve as Joe Biden’s cut man. Every time Biden got into trouble — it is a factual matter. Wallace interrupted 76 times the president and 15 times with Joe Biden. What is wrong with that picture?”