Toward the beginning of what proved to be a combative town hall event on NBC News Thursday night, President Donald Trump made it unequivocally clear — as he has many times over the course of many years — that he denounces white supremacy.
But on cue, as if he didn’t say a word, moderator Savannah Guthrie marched forward with her talking point, a response out of step with the statement the president had just made: she accused Trump of dodging the question.
Trump has been asked the “white supremacy” question ad nauseam from reporters at just about every network across the country, an on-its-face offensive query that presupposes racism and nefarious intentions. Dating back to a 2000 interview with former NBC News journalist Matt Lauer, Trump — who, as president, has called white supremacy “repugnant” — has denounced white supremacy, the Ku Klux Klan, and infamous KKK leader David Duke at least 19 times.
In 2016, during an interview with CBS News’ John Dickerson, then-candidate Trump asked the “Face the Nation” host “how many times” he has to answer the same question.
So when Guthrie asked him about the topic, yet again, Thursday, Trump explicitly condemned white supremacy — an answer she apparently didn’t accept — and then called out the media for its obsession with the issue.
“I’ve denounced white supremacy for years,” he said, “but you always do it, you always start off with the question. You didn’t ask Joe Biden whether or not he denounces Antifa.”
Guthrie interrupted to tell Trump: “This sounds like a little bit of a dodge.” The president then continued: “Are you listening? I denounce white supremacy. What’s your next question.”
That, though, wasn’t enough. Guthrie then accused Trump of being “hesitant” to denounce white supremacy — something he plainly did two times in less than one minute.
“Here we go again,” replied the president, adding for a third time in less than one minute: “I denounce white supremacy.”
“OK,” Guthrie said.