However on all three matters, McEnany flubbed or skirted the small print.
First got here the newest in a collection of makes an attempt to get previous Trump’s indirect feedback about denouncing white supremacists at Tuesday’s debate.
“I’d wish to ask you for a definitive and declarative assertion with out ambiguity or deflection,” Fox Information reporter John Roberts started, including: “Does the president denounce white supremacism and teams that espouse it in all their varieties?”
McEnany didn’t oblige. As an alternative, she got here ready with a collection of feedback that she argued confirmed Trump had already answered this query:
- Of the talk, McEnany mentioned, “He mentioned ‘certain’ 3 times.”
- Of Trump’s feedback Wednesday, McEnany mentioned, “He was point-blank requested, do you denounce white supremacy? And he mentioned, ‘I’ve at all times denounced any type of that.’ ”
- She famous Trump mentioned in August 2019: “In a single voice, our nation should condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy.”
- She famous Trump mentioned in August 2017: “Racism is evil, and those that trigger violence in its title are criminals and thugs, together with the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and different hate teams.”
Roberts tried once more a number of instances, at which factors McEnany once more repeatedly pointed to previous feedback whereas claiming this amounted to the sort of declarative present-day assertion Roberts sought.
The factor is, Trump has at instances been extra definitive — notably within the aftermath of white-supremacist violence and when studying from remarks ready for him, which account for each the 2017 and 2019 feedback McEnany cited. However as CBS Information’s Paula Reid shortly famous, these few extra direct statements have been interspersed with many extra equivocations and halfhearted feedback — very similar to him saying “certain” repeatedly on the debate after which telling the Proud Boys to “stand again and stand by.” Even his August 2017 feedback got here as he repeatedly instructed there was blame for “each side” within the tragedy in Charlottesville, the place white supremacists marched and one in all them killed a protester.
And if you happen to suppose that is some sort of media invention, simply check out the people who have argued Trump wasn’t clear enough on the debate: “Fox and Mates” host Brian Kilmeade, the one Black GOP senator Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Trump’s personal debate coach Chris Christie and Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Invoice Cassidy (R-La.). Roberts, in a stay Fox Information hit after the briefing, responded angrily to critics of his query.
McEnany was additionally given an opportunity to answer Scott’s suggestion that Trump merely “misspoke,” however she disputed it, saying, “The president denounced white supremacy and mentioned, ‘Certain.’ No, he didn’t misspeak.” Sorry, senator.
McEnany was additionally improper on the details; Trump in reality solely mentioned “certain” twice on the debate, based on a transcript.
However that wasn’t the one undeniable fact that she acquired improper. At first of the briefing, she referred to Barrett as a “Rhodes scholar,” when in reality she’s not. As an alternative, she went to Rhodes School in Tennessee.
Confronted on this, McEnany defined, “That’s what I’ve written right here. Attended Rhodes School — my dangerous.” A minimum of she acknowledged that one.
Arguably the largest credibility problem for the White Home emanating from Thursday’s briefing, although, got here on voter fraud. One other Fox Information correspondent — Fox Radio’s Jon Decker — pressed McEnany on Trump’s declare that ballots have been present in a physique of water, which was one in all many doubtful claims Trump provided at Tuesday’s debate to name into query the safety of voting by mail.
The issue with that exact declare? There is no such thing as a document of votes being present in a “river” or a “creek,” as Trump claimed on the debate. McEnany clarified that the ballots have been really discovered in a ditch in Wisconsin. Decker, like Roberts, saved pushing, repeatedly asking McEnany the place the river was.
“If he misspoke, that’s positive,” Decker mentioned. However McEnany wasn’t even keen to concede that, saying, “You’re actually lacking the forest for the timber.”
McEnany finally responded: “That is what is going on right here: You might be ignoring the issue right here, which is final week in Pennsylvania, you had ballots present in a ditch. That may be a truth. In Wisconsin, seven navy ballots all marked for Trump have been discovered solid facet. There are issues with mass mail-in voting. I really don’t perceive the shortage of journalistic curiosity and reporting on this.”
McEnany, although combined up her states — even whereas saying “that could be a truth.” She additionally mentioned all seven navy ballots (which have been really present in Pennsylvania) have been all for Trump. In truth, 9 have been discovered, and 7 have been for Trump, with two others unclear. The Justice Division initially wrongly claimed all 9 have been for Trump, an issue which might counsel McEnany must be well-versed on this matter. There’s additionally no indication that there was something nefarious about it.
What’s most beautiful about this, although, is that the talk wasn’t the one time Trump mentioned the ballots have been present in a river. He additionally said it Sept. 24, 25 and 26, at one level referring to a “riverbed.” The talk was, in reality, the fourth time he misstated what occurred.
And that’s actually the purpose right here. If we’re going to imagine he’s really examined these conditions fastidiously for malfeasance, he may need to have the essential details down. In any other case, it undermines his complete level and raises legitimate questions on simply how discerning he’s in elevating this as some kind of extremely speculative voter fraud.
The identical goes for McEnany. It’s one factor to argue Trump has at instances been extra definitive; it’s one other to gloss over all the opposite instances by which he has been removed from that whereas not studying from a script, or to faux that saying “certain” is definitive. We get it that the White Home could really feel that offering one thing extra definitive in the present day could be enjoying into the arms of his critics and legitimizing the difficulty. Nevertheless it’s clearly a professional problem for even many Trump allies, and the White Home appears bent on prolonging the entire thing.