The contentious press briefing with the White House’s Kayleigh McEnany Thursday spawned many questions about why President Donald Trump resists an emphatic denouncing of white supremacy.
McEnany claimed that in the past Trump has denounced racism, reading off a series of quotes from the president. But in many cases, Trump has refused to denounce white supremacists and the armed militia groups because they overwhelmingly support him.
MSNBC host Chuck Todd noted that on day-two of this issue, the refrain sounds familiar. “So, for the Republican response to the president’s comments have been an awkward dance of rebuke, embrace and silence.”
“The hand wringing from Republicans comes as the president’s campaign is reeling,” Todd continued. “They are trailing in the polls and they are being just pounded on the airwaves by the Biden campaign. Trump is being outspent in battleground states by more than a 2 to 1 margin… there’s so many rules of crisis management but a simple one is sometimes, you know, just rip the band-aid off and they’ve let this story on white supremacists linger a second day. Frankly, it’s campaign malpractice which tells me this is the president who is being stubborn on this.”
In a conversation with Todd after the briefing, NBC News correspondent Carol Lee agreed, saying that Trump seems to be “digging in” on this issue.
“He doesn’t want to come out and say that he misspoke or said something wrong,” said Lee. “Kayleigh McEnany was asked this by not just John Roberts but wouldn’t definitively say what I think the questioners were looking for, reporters were asking is just to say, ‘yes,’ to say, ‘yes, I denounce, and the president denounces white supremacy.’ Part of the reason why this, I think, Chuck, is — continues to be an issue is because we all know what it looks like when President Trump wants to denounce something.”
In the past, Trump has been emphatic in his denunciation of a great many things. He has rage-tweeted about MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, Jeb Bush’s contacts, attacking Arnold Schwarzenegger, called Bette Midler unattractive, and a long history with “losers and haters.”
Jeb Bush just got contact lenses and got rid of the glasses. He wants to look cool, but it's far too late. 1% in Nevada!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2016
Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
While @BetteMidler is an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2012
Every time I speak of the haters and losers I do so with great love and affection. They cannot help the fact that they were born fucked up!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 29, 2014
He’s even raged against Twitter, threatening that he would shut them down.
….happen again. Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country. It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win. Likewise, Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
“This isn’t it,” Lee continued. “He, on any given issue, makes crystal clear on where he stands on something that he opposes. And we just haven’t seen that same sort of sledgehammer that he takes to anyone that he or anything that he is against, and having used that against rhetorically against white supremacy. We haven’t seen that same emphasis from him on this issue and that’s in part why this continues to be something that has legs. They’re pointing to the president’s past statements. Yesterday he was asked this and said, ‘sure.’ It’s not this definitive robust sort of denouncement that you would expect from the president of the United States. And you’d expect from a president who is in a campaign and that has this story hanging over him, for now, two days.”
See the discussion below:
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