White House shows no signs of backing down from Trump’s refusal to condemn White supremacy

The White House is showing no signs of backing down from President Donald Trump’s refusal to condemn White supremacy during Tuesday night’s presidential debate, despite pleas from some Republican allies to clarify his comments.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie


© Carolyn Kaster/AP


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.

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“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.

The President also told the Proud Boys — a far-right group the Anti-Defamation League calls misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-immigration — to “stand back and stand by.”

“Who would you like me to condemn?” Trump said. Biden could be heard twice saying, “Proud Boys.”

Video: White House still won’t outright denounce white supremacy (CNN)

White House still won’t outright denounce white supremacy

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“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.

Although Trump has condemned the Ku Klux Klan and White supremacists in the past, he memorably said “both sides” were to blame for racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, has frequently downplayed the threat from White supremacists during his term in office and has made stoking racial tensions a key part of his reelection strategy. In contrast, the Trump administration has portrayed antifa and anarchists as a top threat to the US equivalent to that of the KKK, recently making a campaign promise to prosecute both the KKK and antifa as terrorist organizations.

FBI Director Christopher Wray recently told Congress that “racially motivated violent extremism,” coming mostly from White supremacists, has made up the majority of domestic terrorist threats in the US.

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

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House Delays Vote on $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Bill Lacking GOP Backing

WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives postponed a vote on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package as Democrats tried to find common ground with the White House on a bipartisan agreement, though they remained far apart on key issues.

Democratic aides said the delay was to allow the two sides one more day to keep talking before a vote. As written now, the legislation has no hope of advancing in the GOP-controlled Senate, but many centrist Democrats were eager to pass a new bill before they returned to campaigning in their home districts.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) met Wednesday afternoon for 90 minutes and failed to reach an agreement.

“We found areas where we are seeking further clarification,” Mrs. Pelosi said as she announced plans to hold a vote. “Our conversations will continue.”

The updated legislation released earlier this week shaved the price tag of economic relief to $2.2 trillion, compared with the $3.5 trillion bill the House passed in May.

“We still don’t have an agreement, but we have more work to do,” Mr. Mnuchin said after the meeting. “We’re going to see where we end up.”

Mr. Mnuchin and Mrs. Pelosi have made a late push to try to reach a coronavirus-relief deal before the election, despite skepticism on Capitol Hill that an agreement is possible at this stage. The House is slated to leave for a monthlong recess at the end of this week.

Separately on Wednesday, the Senate passed a short-term spending bill, approved by the House last week, keeping the government funded through Dec. 11.

Republicans and Democrats are in agreement on many of the policy items under discussion, including additional aid for small businesses, restaurants and airlines as well as money to help schools reopen safely, but they remain split over top party priorities.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leaving a Wednesday meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.



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Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

Frustrated lawmakers from both parties have begun pushing for legislation that would extend or change the popular Paycheck Protection Program that allows small businesses to get forgivable loans, with some House Democrats considering a procedural maneuver that would go around leadership. In the Senate on Wednesday, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R., N.D.) attempted to pass legislation to simplify the forgiveness provisions by unanimous consent but it was blocked by Democrats who have insisted that any coronavirus legislation be more expansive.

In a call with House Democrats on Wednesday, Mrs. Pelosi said the two major obstacles for reaching a deal were Democrats’ priority to include funding for state and local governments in the aid bill, which many Republicans have dubbed a “blue state bailout,” and Republicans’ priority to have liability protections for businesses and health providers, which Democrats object to, according to a person on the call.

“They’re not there at all,” Mrs. Pelosi said of the state and local aid money, according to the person.

Many Republicans have resisted a large new round of spending and have expressed

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