The White House Press Corps’ open hostility toward the president and his administration is well established, but on Monday they went above and beyond the usual unprofessional animosity we’ve come to expect from them.
“Does President Trump believe that it was a good thing that the south lost the Civil War?” Politico’s Ryan Lizza asked during the White House daily press briefing, prompting an annoyed response from White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
“Your first question is absolutely absurd,” McEnany replied. “He’s proud of the United States of America.”
Lizza also asked if Trump would follow NASCAR’s example and ban Confederate flags from his campaign rallies.
McEnany told Lizza that he should ask the Trump campaign about a potential Confederate flag ban, and pointed out that the president’s opposition to tearing down statues of historical figures is in line with popular opinion.
“Americans oppose tearing down our statues,” McEnany added, citing recent polling. “[Trump] stands on the side of preserving our history.”
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 29, 2020
Later on in the press briefing, McEnany was asked about poorly sourced reports in the New York Times and Washington Post that were published over the weekend claiming that Trump was allowing Russia to pay bounties to Taliban members to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. According to CBS News Intelligence reporter Catherine Herridge, the intelligence collection report in question only reached “low levels” in the National Security Council and did not go further “because it was deemed ‘uncorroborated’ and ‘dissent intelligence community.'”
“NSA assesses Report does not match well established and verifiable Taliban and Haqqani practices” + “lack sufficient reporting to corroborate any links,” an intelligence official with direct knowledge told Herridge.
McEnany ripped the NYTs and Post for printing the fake news and read off a long list of other false reports published in the Times about Trump since he was elected president. She concluded by urging both the Times and the Post to give back their Pulitzers.
Not surprisingly, the White House reporters were not chastened by the White house spokeswoman’s blistering rebuke.
As she was leaving the room, one of them screamed: “Why hasn’t the president condemned ‘white power?!'”
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) June 29, 2020
The president over the weekend retweeted a video of a protest at “The Villages,” a planned retirement community in Florida, that had problematic content.
There were dueling political rallys among these seniors and things got quite heated. You can watch the video at Mediaite. Breitbart describes the kurfuffle as “a clash between protesters at The Villages in Florida in which a man taunted pro-Trump demonstrators as Ku Klux Klan members, and another man shouted ‘White Power!’ in reply.”
After Resistance Twitter exploded in shock and horror, Trump deleted the tweet. As AmG’s Liz Sheld noted, the man who shouted “white power!” may have been joking, but that is besides the point. Obviously, the president missed the part of the video that appeared racist or he would not have retweeted it (during an election year no less).