Jake Tapper Grills White House Spokesperson Over Trump’s Response To Charlottesville

Jake Tapper Grills White House Spokesperson Over Trump’s Response To Charlottesville
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10 months ago

In an interview this past Sunday, August 13th, CNN's Jake Tapper confronted White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert over President Trump's refusal to explicitly condemn the white supremacists, neo-nazis, and members of the alt-right who met in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. The protest ultimately resulted in three deaths, including a counter-protestor who was killed when a car, driven by a white supremacist, intentionally crashed into a crowd of people.

Here's a video of Tapper's interview:

Following the deadline protest, President Trump issued a statement which decried the "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides." Bossert was asked to address concerns that the President didn't adequately condemn White Supremacists:

This isn't about President Trump — this is about a level of violence and hatred that could not be tolerated in this country. I was with the president yesterday, and I'm proud of the fact that he stood up and calmly looked into the camera and condemned this violence and bigotry in all its forms. This racial intolerance and racial bigotry cannot be condoned.

Tapper then pressed the Security Advisor on the fact that many white supremacists loved Trump's speech, and interpreted it as a message of tacit endorsement. A prominent white supremacist website, The Daily Stormer, published this response to Trump's speech:

Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us. He said that we need to study why people are so angry, and implied that there was hate … on both sides! So he implied the antifa are haters. There was virtually no counter-signaling of us at all. He said he loves us all. Also refused to answer a question about White Nationalists supporting him. No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.

Former KKK leader David Duke claimed the entire rally was inspired by Donald Trump's rhetoric:

When asked by Tapper if he was at least "willing to concede that the president was not clear enough in condemning white supremacy," Bossert replied:

The words of the ignorant bear little with me and should bear less with you in the media. [The President] didn't dignify the names of these groups of people, but rather addressed the fundamental issue.

Tapper pointed out many senior White House spokespeople,  like Steven Gorka, have claimed white supremacists are "not the problem." The CNN host commented:

When you just condemn groups, as opposed to specifically white supremacists, Nazis, Klan members — it creates this vagueness," Tapper said. "And you, on this show today, have said that you condemn groups, and condemn actions and condemn bigotry. But I haven't heard you say 'I condemn white supremacists, I condemn nazis, I condemn the alt-right.' And I think a lot of people are upset, a lot of Republican officials, that they didn't hear that from President Trump. But I don't want to belabor the point.

Bossert finally conceded:

I think you've belabored it so let me say I condemn white supremacists, and nazis, and groups that favor this type of exclusion. I can't be clearer.

That's true, Tom, but you could have been a lot quicker.