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Fox News reporter John Roberts criticized White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday for refusing to provide a "definitive and unambiguous" statement condemning white supremacist groups on behalf of President Trump, arguing that she deflected by only pointing to his past statements.

Why it matters: Roberts pointed out that despite McEnany's insinuation that the media is over-exaggerating the controversy over President Trump telling the far-right Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by" at Tuesday's debate, a number of Trump's Republican allies have urged the president to clarify and unequivocally denounce white supremacy.

What he's saying: "If the president didn't know who Proud Boys were, and Joe Biden just threw out the name — if he didn't know who they were, why did he denounce them?" asked a visibly frustrated Roberts.

  • "Why didn't he say, 'I don't know who they are. Can you give me a little bit more information about them,' and then make a decision about it? So this all remains very puzzling."
  • "And for all of you on Twitter who are hammering me for asking that question, I don't care. Because it's a question that needs to be asked, and clearly the president's Republican colleagues a mile away from here are looking for an answer for it too. So stop deflecting. Stop blaming the media. I'm tired of it."

Go deeper: McEnany spars with reporters over whether Trump condemned white supremacy

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Jan 5, 2021 - Politics & Policy

A tense, tectonic 48 hours

A stage goes up on the Ellipse yesterday ahead of tomorrow's pro-Trump rally. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

The next two days look to be the most tumultuous and telling of the wild, never-ending 2020 election.

Driving the news: Twin runoffs in Georgia today determine control of the U.S. Senate. And perhaps half or more of the Republicans in Congress will cast an unprecedented number of votes to invalidate President-elect Biden’s clear win, as the House and Senate meet to certify the Electoral College votes.

Mike Allen, author of AM
6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."