As I noted earlier, the post-debate focal point for the mainstream media has not been on how Joe Biden repeatedly lied and wouldn’t answer a key question about packing the Supreme Court, but instead on how President Trump allegedly “refused” to condemn white supremacy when debate moderator Chris Wallace asked him about it Tuesday night.
The claim is simply not true, as the transcript makes clear.
But a question many conservatives are asking in the aftermath of Tuesday’s three-way showdown is why would Wallace even ask it in the first place — considering he already knew the answer?
A clip has surfaced from a 2016 GOP presidential primary debate, where Wallace asked then-candidate Donald Trump a question similar to the one he asked on Tuesday.
Wallace’s question Tuesday was: “But are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups?”
Wallace’s question during that March 2016 GOP presidential debate:
“Mr. Trump, Romney also talked about your position on race, and the controversy over your failure to denounce David Duke on Sunday. You have repeatedly disavowed him since then, but I’d like to go deeper than that. What are your views on the Klu Klux Klan, and white supremacists?”
Here was Trump’s answer:
“I totally disavow the Klu Klux Klan. I totally disavow David Duke. I’ve been doing it now for two weeks, this is your — you’re probably about the 18th person that’s asked me the question. It was very clear, that question was also talked about in the form of groups. Groups, I want to know which groups are you talking about? You have to tell me which groups?
Ultimately, he got to the Klu Klux Klan, which obviously I’m going to disavow. And, by the way, if you look on my Twitter account, almost immediately after the program they were disavowed again.
You know, it’s amazing. When I do something on Twitter, everybody picks it up, goes all over the place. But, when I did this one nobody ever picks it up. Take a look at my Twitter account.”
Wow, this is Chris Wallace asking Trump the same question in 2016.
Any “journalists” wanna share this?
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) October 1, 2020
As he did Tuesday, Trump made a reference during that 2016 debate to wanting to know what specific groups he was being asked about, which I think is a very important question to ask, considering the media loves to label conservative groups across the board as “racists.” We all remember how abhorrently the Tea Party was treated by the media during President Obama’s time in office, being routinely branded as racists for daring to have legitimate disagreements with him over issues like Obamacare.
But back to Wallace, the fact that he had already asked and had the question answered at that 2016 debate makes him asking it again inexcusable, because it comes off even more as a “gotcha” question designed to hurt one nominee and help the other, which supposedly neutral moderators are not supposed to do.
I’ve seen suggestions that Wallace should have framed the question by first noting Trump’s comments from 2016 and asking if he still stood by those remarks. But in doing so, Wallace would have given the game away, because framing it in those terms would make clear that not only did he know the answer already, but that he was also the one who asked the question at the time. Besides, since that 2016 debate, Trump hasn’t said or done anything to indicate he feels differently (contra to the media’s and left’s constant lies about his Charlottesville statements).
In fact, he’s said and done a lot to confirm he stands by the comments, as White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany noted with receipts during today’s briefing. This is something that veteran reporters like Wallace would know, or otherwise be able to easily confirm, by doing a few simple Google searches and/or checks of his own network’s video libraries.
What Wallace did Tuesday night with his poor performance and this question, in particular, is to confirm what Republicans have been saying about him for a long time, which is that there is little difference between him and the liberally-biased crew at CNN, who as a general rule always come into stories with an angle to push that will benefit Democrats.
This includes Jake Tapper, who is just as guilty as Wallace is on this issue.
It’s no wonder Trump’s been critical of Wallace ever since. Can’t say as I blame him.