More than 24 hours after President Donald Trump retweeted a video of a supporter who repeatedly used a clearly audible racist insult, he had not yet condemned the use of the term Monday, distanced himself from the supporter, or apologized for sharing it with his 82 million from Twitter. followers and the American people.
Despite the video uproar of the man in the retirement community of The Villages in Florida yelling “white power” at an opposing protester, and Trump calling them “great people,” White House press secretary Kaleigh McEnany opened Monday’s press conference echoing the president’s “message of law and order,” which provides an update on arrests made amid ongoing national protests against racism, including attacks on statues.
“Law and order are the cornerstones of the American dream. But if lawlessness prevails, this dream falls apart,” said McEnany.
When asked about the “white power” video tweet, McEnany only said that Trump heard the video before retweeting it, but did not hear that chant, and when asked directly when he left the briefing if the president condemned the use of the term “white power”, did not respond.
Within the first eight seconds of the video, a follower driving a golf cart bearing the Trump 2020 sign repeatedly chanted the term “white power” linked to white supremacy out loud.
It featured a scene from a “Villagers for Trump” golf cart parade that took place at The Villages on June 14.
After a few hours on display Sunday, the tweet was removed from the President’s account while playing golf with Senator Lindsay Graham, RS.C., at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia.
In an interview with Fox News on Monday, McEnany also failed to seize the opportunity to condemn the use of the phrase or the sentiment behind it. Instead, she repeated her deputy’s statement the day before.
“The president didn’t hear that phrase in that part of the video, and when he was told he was there, he took that tweet,” McEnany said in the interview. “But he made it very clear to me that he is with the people of The Villages, our great elders, men and women in the villages, who support this president,” he said.
“He defends them and his point of tweeting that video was to support his followers who are often demonized,” he added. “So he took it off, but he’s standing with the men and women of The Villages.”
His deputy, Judd Deere, noted on Sunday the “tremendous enthusiasm” of the followers in the video, also without noticing any problems with the singing.
Meanwhile, President Trump said in April that, when it comes to content, he tweets, “I realize everything.”
After hours of criticism Sunday morning, even from the only African-American Republican in the Senate, Senator Tim Scott, RS.C., a Trump supporter mentions almost every time he’s asked about the race that called him “indefensible “, the tweet was removed from the president’s account.
In addition to Scott, who was asked about it in a CNN interview, there has been virtual silence from other Republicans.
It is not the first time that the President cannot condemn white supremacy.
During the 2016 campaign, it took months for him to turn down David Duke, leader of the Ku Klux Klan, at a time when he stated that he had no idea who he was.
Trump finally read a Trump Tower statement condemning neo-Nazis and a variety of white supremacists in Charlottesville at a “United for the Right” rally that left a counter-protester dead. The President infamously said there were “very good people on both sides.”
He later promised that he would never make a statement like that again when it was presented as a “course correction.”
In the past few weeks, Twitter has started marking several of Trump’s tweets with warning labels.
During protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Trump tweeted “when the looting begins, the shooting begins,” marking the first time the platform affixed a warning label to the president’s tweet. It did so again last week because of Trump’s tweet threatening “serious force” against protesters trying to form an “Autonomous Black House Zone” outside the White House.
As the nation continues to grapple with the unrest, Trump retweeted an ABC News video tweet of a white couple armed with guns targeting Black Lives Matter protesters in St. Louis on Monday morning as they marched toward the mayor’s home. to demand his resignation on Sunday night. .
ABC News’ Ben Gittleson and Elizabeth Thomas contributed to this report.