Fox News’ Chris Wallace suggested on Sunday that President Donald Trump should give a speech attacking “white supremacy” — the implication being that he had not done so, and needed to denounce it.
Fact Check: Mostly False.
In an interview on Fox News Sunday with acting White House Chief of Staff Nick Mulvaney, Wallace repeatedly asked whether Trump would consider giving such a speech — despite Mulvaney’s insistence that the president had spoken out against bigotry many times in the past. The context was the terror attacks against two mosques in New Zealand on Friday.
First, Wallace asked: “I understand and I very much agree that the president is not responsible for this action, but has he considered … giving a major speech condemning anti-Muslim white supremacist bigotry?”
Mulvaney replied that it was “absurd” for Democrats to link the attacks to the president.
Wallace asked a second time: “To the degree that there’s an issue with white supremacist, white nationalist, anti-Muslim bigotry in this country, and there is an issue with that, why not deliver a speech condemning it?”
Mulvaney replied, in frustration: “I’m not sure how many times we have to say that.” He argued that even asking the question showed the lamentable degree to which the country had become politicized.
Wallace persisted, a third time: “Why not make the speech and make it clear that there is no place in America for this kind of hatred?”
Mulvaney said he was open to the idea, but that the important point was that the president was doing everything he could to prevent such attacks in the U.S.
At no point did Wallace — or Mulvaney — acknowledge that Trump had, in fact, given a speech addressing white supremacy on August 14, 2017, and denounced bigotry of all kinds:
As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America.
And as I have said many times before: No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry, and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.
Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.
We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our Creator. We are equal under the law. And we are equal under our Constitution. Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America.
That speech has been overlooked as the media report, falsely, that Trump praised the neo-Nazis at Charlottesville in a press conference the next day, when he referred to “very fine people” on both sides of the issue of the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. (He specifically excluded neo-Nazis from the “very fine people.”)
Wallace seems to have forgotten the speech, as well. The one point that could be raised in his defense is that the president’s speech in August 2017 did not specifically address anti-Muslim bigotry, which was not in the news.
However, it is unclear what benefit such a speech would provide when the media failed to give the president credit for the last one, and continue to report, falsely, that he supports white supremacists, regardless.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.