There’s no doubt that Trump botched the exchange on white supremacy at the debate. David Harsanyi makes the point sharply here:
“There is no room for hate in this country, so of course I condemn white supremacy — which is more than I can say for my opponent who is too scared to condemn the radical leftists who have been burning down cities across America.”
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) September 30, 2020
But Trump said he was willing to denounce white supremacy at the debate, clarified what he meant about the Proud Boys the day after the debate, and is on the record in the past denouncing white-supremacist groups. The media, still, is not willing to take “yes” for an answer, or to accept any denunciation.
An exchange at the White House press briefing over this got a lot of attention. It’s really hard to see how this can possibly be made into an unwillingness to denounce white supremacy, but that’s how it’s been interpreted:
Really a sad state of affairs when the White House @PressSec can’t offer a clear and direct answer to this question. https://t.co/NR09BrEMAL
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) October 1, 2020
Jack Tapper had a similar exchange with a Trump campaign spokesman, accusing him of refusing to denounce white supremacy, when he repeatedly cited Trump’s past denunciations of white supremacy and made his own denunciation of white supremacy.
This is just too good a narrative to check, or ever let go.