White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday would not give a declarative statement denouncing White supremacy, instead pointing to the President’s past comments and insisting that he did not misspeak during the debate or after.
“The President, specifically, verbatim, was asked (Wednesday): ‘White supremacy — do you denounce them?’ To which he responded, ‘I have always denounced any form of that,’ ” McEnany said. “Those are the facts.”
But McEnany excluded the fact that when Trump was asked if he condemned White supremacists on Wednesday, he appeared to equate violence by far-left groups with White supremacy.
Asked if he condemned White supremacists, Trump told reporters: “I’ve always denounced any form, any form of any of that. You have to denounce. But I also — Joe Biden has to say something about antifa.”
Trump similarly argued during the debate that the left wing was to blame for violence at ongoing demonstrations across the country.
“Who would you like me to condemn?” Trump said. Biden could be heard twice saying, “Proud Boys.”
“Proud Boys — stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what. I’ll tell you what. Somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem,” Trump continued.
Some Republicans on Capitol Hill, including Sens. Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, gave Trump the benefit of the doubt, saying the President should clarify his debate remarks or that they believed he misspoke.
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the lone Black Republican in the Senate, said Wednesday that he thought Trump had misspoken during the debate and “he should correct it.”
Asked directly if Trump misspoke, McEnany denied he had.
“When the President denounced White supremacy and said, ‘Sure.’ No, he did not misspeak,” McEnany said Thursday.
The backlash over the comments also didn’t change the President’s campaign trail rhetoric.
“(A) 700% increase refugees coming from the most dangerous places in the world including Yemen, Syria and your favorite country, Somalia. You love Somalia,” Trump said sarcastically. “Biden would turn Minnesota into a refugee camp.”
Omar “tells us how to run our country, can you believe it? How the hell did Minnesota elect her? What the hell is wrong with you people?” the President said.
The comments marked the second time in as many weeks that Trump has attacked Omar in her home state, using the phrase “our country” — falsely implying the US is not Omar’s country. Omar was born in Somalia but moved to the US when she was young and is a naturalized US citizen.
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