Fox News Reporter Rips WH For Dodging On ‘Definitive’ Statement Against White Supremacy

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 01: U.S. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing at the White House on October 1, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump is traveling to Bedminster... WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 01: U.S. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing at the White House on October 1, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump is traveling to Bedminster, New Jersey on Thursday for a roundtable event with supporters and a fundraiser. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) MORE LESS
October 1, 2020 12:58 p.m.

Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts on Thursday ripped White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany after she failed to answer his question on whether she can give a “definitive” statement on President Trump denouncing white supremacists.

The exchange followed widespread backlash over Trump directing the far-right hate group known as the “Proud Boys” to “stand back and stand by” during his first debate against Democratic rival Joe Biden.

During the briefing Thursday, Roberts asked for “a definitive and declarative statement without ambiguity or deflection” on Trump condemning white supremacy.

After McEnany insisted that “this was answered by the President himself” and that he has “condemned more than any president in modern history,” Roberts pushed back by noting that she did not specifically answer his question as she kept pointing to the President’s past remarks.

McEnany went on to attack the media.

“The President has denounced it repeatedly. The President was asked this,” McEnany said, referring to the President’s attempt to walk back his remarks the day after the debate by nonsensically claiming that he doesn’t know who the Proud Boys are. “You are contriving a story line and narrative.”

After the briefing, Roberts aired his grievances on the White House’s non-answer to his question.

“It’s a question that needs to be asked. Clearly the President’s Republican colleagues a mile away from here are looking for an answer for it too,” Roberts said. “Stop deflecting. Stop blaming the media. I’m tired of it.”

In a tweet issued after the briefing, McEnany referred Roberts to a question that his wife, ABC News correspondent Kyra Phillips, asked during Trump’s attempt to walk back his incendiary remarks during the debate.

Roberts wasn’t the only member of the press McEnany went after during the dicey briefing.

When pressed by CBS’ Paula Reid on the President’s “mixed” record on denouncing racism and hate groups, crosstalk between McEnany and Reid ensued, prompting the White House press secretary to launch into a rant against the media.

“Let me finish. It’s funny how the media goes haywire about interrupting in the debates and then chooses to pursue that very same tactic themselves,” McEnany said. “This is a White House briefing. You ask a question and you give me time to answer.”

McEnany continued her diatribe against the media when asked by CNN’s Kaitlin Collins about the President’s “Proud Boys” shoutout during the debate, by repeatedly insisting that Trump denounced the group and blaming the media for “continu(ing) to put the names into circulation and give them a lot of public attention.”

Like Roberts, Collins took issue with McEnany’s lack of denouncement against the “Proud Boys” in a tweet.

Latest News
Change to Commenting Permissions Starting May 1st

Beginning May 1, 2021, the option to comment on an article will be reserved only for TPM members. Non-members and those with free accounts will still be able to read comments both past and present, but will no longer be able to participate.

We hope that dedicated participants in the comments will join us as members, and want to make it as easy as possible for you to to so. We are offering 40% OFF an annual Prime membership to TPM readers with commenting accounts.

40% Off an Annual Prime Membership

We also offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: