After former KKK grand wizard David Duke inconveniently credited Donald Trump as the inspiration for the Charlottesville alt-right and neo-Nazi rally that turned violent, Fox News reporter Kristin Fisher dutifully erased Trump’s history of refusing to disavow Duke.
As Vox noted, Duke was recorded directly linking the Charlottesville, VA rally to Trump, saying, “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump,” and “That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”
But fortunately for Trump, he’s got a news network to help him spin such an embarrassment. This afternoon, that job went to correspondent Kristin Fisher.
Reporting from Trump’s “working vacation” spot at his resort in Bedminster, N.J., Fisher began by uncritically relaying Trump’s tweets pretending to be a uniter:
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
Next, Fisher dropped a little Trump-friendly comment, telling us, “He’s been working so hard … behind the scenes in Bedminster” on a V.A. bill that he would shortly make a statement about.
After noting some of the criticism Trump has gotten from Democrats for not condemning the violence earlier and more forcefully, Fisher got to extricating Trump from the Duke blemish and that embarrassing video:
FISHER: Now one of the white nationalists at that rally is the former grand wizard of the KKK, David Duke and, of course, David Duke has supported President Trump since the very early days of his campaign, even though President Trump has repeatedly denounced that support, said he wants nothing to do with David Duke or anything to do with what he’s about. But at this rally, this morning, David Duke seemed to try to tie what he’s all about, his vision for America with President Trump’s policies.
“Seemed to try to tie?” Duke did actually tie the rally to Trump. After noting the Twitter video and Duke’s quote, Fisher acknowledged that.
FISHER: So David Duke tying the protests directly to the president, saying that President Trump’s policies are in line with his vision for America, even though President Trump and the White House continue to denounce David Duke and say that they really want nothing to do with him.
In fact, Trump has a long history of not firmly condemning Duke’s views. Most famously, during the campaign, Trump deceitfully claimed, “I don’t know anything about David Duke” while refusing to denounce Duke’s statement that not voting for Trump would be “treason to your heritage.”
Somewhat to her credit, anchor Julie Banderas, who hosted a debate immediately following Fisher’s report, did say, Trump "got a lot of criticism early on in his campaign because he took a while to disavow and to condemn David Duke. Let’s be very clear: Donald Trump does not support David Duke.”
But Trump obviously hasn’t persuaded Duke that they're not soulmates.
Watch Fox try to spin away the truth below, from the August 12, 2017 America’s News HQ.
That’s just bizarre, Ellen.
CNN has adopted the delightfully insidious tactic of viewing that single, sole, one-off “disavowal” over and over again. Without comment. This is sending a devastatingly clear message (to those who are listening): Candidate Trump did so only to get the reporters off his back. It was not a full-throated disavowal and I don’t recall him giving a response any other time.
It’s clear to me Trump – who showed uncharacteristic restraint in joining the Twitter conversation – was trying to weasel his way out of criticizing white supremacists while vaguely playing lip service to being against hate and violence. Obviously this is Trump implicitly admitting they’re an important component of his base (who are proving themselves to be deplorables). It’s also Trump letting the world know he needs the white supremacist vote more than he needs to express moral authority.
None of this impressed David Duke who expected Trump to go all-in with support for the oppressed white man. The CATO Institute estimates a clear majority of Trump voters are to varying degrees bigots. While most aren’t as hardcore as the Duke crowd, I don’t think they’ll appreciate Trump’s wish-washy tweet either. They expect more outspoken support for whites.
Oh dear, a guy called Jack Kingston just said “… buzzwords like white supremacists”. The lady host for the past hour or so has been very good IMO.