Fox News’ John Roberts lost his composure during a report on Thursday morning, attacking those on Twitter who criticized him for the way he asked White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany about the president’s stance on white supremacy.
In the White House press briefing moments before, Roberts asked McEnany — three times — whether the president denounced white supremacy, and appeared not to accept yes for an answer.
“For all of you on Twitter who are hammering me for answering that — for asking that question, I don’t care! Because it’s a question that needs to be asked.”
On Fox News, @johnrobertsFox is visibly angry that @PressSec won't offer a clear denunciation of white supremacy: "Stop deflecting. Stop blaming the media. I'm tired of it. " pic.twitter.com/GcPcOsAHqJ
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) October 1, 2020
Roberts first asked “for a definitive and declarative statement, without ambiguity or deflection, as the person who speaks for the president, does the president denounce white supremacism [sic], and groups that espouse it, in all their forms?”
McEnany replied by noting that the president had answered that question the day before, and on the debate stage. She also read a list of quotes in which the president denounced white supremacy, including one in which the president said: “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy.”
She noted that Trump has “condemned white supremacy more than any president in modern history.”
That wasn’t good enough for Roberts, who followed up with a second question: “Just to clear it up this morning, can you, naming it, make a declarative statement that you denounce — that the president denounces it.”
McEnany, shocked, replied: “I just did.”
Roberts replied: “You read a bunch of quotes from the past. … I’m just asking you to put this to rest.”
McEnany, again: “I just did.”
She attempted to move on to the next question, but Roberts interjected: “Can you, right now, denounce white supremacy and the groups that espouse it.”
I just did! The president denounced white supremacy, the KKK, and hate groups in all forms. He signed a resolution to that effect. The president just last week — perhaps you all weren’t covering it — just last week expressed his desire to see the KKK prosecuted as domestic terrorists. This president advocated for the death penalty for a white supremacist, the first federal execution in 17 years. His record on this is unmistakable, and it’s shameful that the media refuses to cover it.
Kayleigh McEnany: "[Trump] has condemned white supremacy more than any President in modern history." pic.twitter.com/JPY2AYp8t0
— The Hill (@thehill) October 1, 2020
In his report later, Roberts attempted to justify his questions, citing concerns from “the president’s Republican colleagues,” some of whom (incorrectly) said on Wednesday that President Trump should have denounced white supremacy during the first presidential debate.