Fox News White House chief correspondent John Roberts went off on some of his Twitter followers on Thursday for "hammering" him over asking White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany for a “definitive and declarative statement” that the president denounces white supremacy and groups that espouse it.
"Why didn't he say, 'I don't know who they are. Can you give me more information about them,' and then make a decision about it? So this all remains puzzling," Roberts told "Outnumbered Overtime" guest host Melissa Francis on Thursday afternoon.
"And for all of you on Twitter who are hammering me for asking that question, I don't care," he said. "Because it's a question that needs to be asked, and clearly the president's Republican colleagues a mile away from here are looking for an answer for it too. So stop deflecting. Stop blaming the media. I'm tired of it."
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
McEnany pushed back at Roberts by pointing to reporting by Roberts’s wife, Kyra Phillips, an ABC News correspondent, who reported in a tweet that the president had denounced, in all-caps, white supremacy on Wednesday in a gaggle with reporters outside the White House.
Roberts, formerly of CBS News and CNN, joined Fox News in 2011.
Trump has faced considerable backlash, including from GOP lawmakers, for not definitively denouncing white supremacy when provided the opportunity during Tuesday night's debate.
When Fox News host and moderator Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceChris Wallace on Colin Powell: He was 'very protective' of his reputation Liz Cheney is the Margaret Chase Smith of our time Sunday shows - Buttigieg warns supply chain issues could stretch to next year MORE asked Trump if he was willing to condemn white supremacy and militia groups, Trump said “sure” but insisted “left-wing” groups were to blame for most violence. When Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room MORE asked Trump to condemn the Proud Boys, Trump told the far-right group to “stand back and stand by.”
“I’ll tell you what, somebody has got to do something about antifa and the left,” Trump added.
Trump attempted to clarify his remarks on Thursday by saying he didn’t know who the Proud Boys are and that they should “stand down.” He later added that he has “always denounced any form" of white supremacy.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany dodges when asked by Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts to give a "definitive" statement against white supremacy pic.twitter.com/iedlPfQQZx— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) October 1, 2020