Trump has yet to offer that kind of condemnation since GOP senators weighed in after Tuesday’s presidential debate.
And while the White House insisted that he has been repeatedly clear on the subject both before and after, he did not stop to take the opportunity to speak with reporters as he departed the White House Thursday, as he typically does, including as recently as Wednesday.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, asked several times Thursday whether the president unambiguously denounces white supremacists, repeatedly avoided offering a simple declarative repudiation.
Pressed by Fox News’ John Roberts in the first exchange of Thursday’s White House briefing if she could “right now” denounce white supremacy on behalf of the president, McEnany instead argued the president has been “entirely consistent” and that his “record is unmistakable,” arguing he had done so when asked at the debate.
“If I could start off,” Roberts said, “I would like to ask you for a definitive and declarative statement without ambiguity or deflection. As the person who speaks for the president, does the president denounce white supremacism and groups that espouse it, in all their forms?”
“This was answered by the president himself. He said ‘sure’ three times,” Mcenany replied. “Yesterday, he was point blank asked, ‘Do you denounce white supremacy?’ and he said ‘I’ve always denounced any form of that,'” she said, reading from a transcript, reciting an exchange in which Trump did not use the term “white supremacy” himself.
There’s a well-established pattern of Trump showing a reluctance to disavow radical and racist groups and ideologies dating back to before he took office.
Asked again by Roberts if she would offer a simple declarative condemnation on behalf of the president to clear up lingering confusion left by his comments, McEnany claimed she had already done so.
“I just did. The president has denounced it repeatedly. The president was asked this. You are contriving a story line and narrative.”
After Roberts, other reporters continued to press for an unambiguous condemnation — McEnany stood by her position.
One reporter challenged McEnany, saying the president had a mixed record on the issue.
“His record is not mixed in the slightest. When you go back in history you can