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White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany clashed repeatedly with members of the media on Thursday over whether or not President Trump has forcefully condemned white supremacy, at one pointing accusing CNN's Kaitlan Collins of asking a "partisan attack question."

Why it matters: It was one of the most confrontational press conferences yet by a White House press secretary brought in for the express purpose of sparring with a Washington press corps that the president has attacked as "the enemy of the people."

Driving the news: Fox News reporter John Roberts opened the Q&A portion of the briefing by asking whether McEnany could provide a "declarative statement" explicitly condemning white supremacy on behalf of Trump.

  • Instead, she pointed to past statements Trump has made denouncing the KKK and advocating for the death penalty for a white supremacist, claiming the president's "record on this is unmistakable and it's shameful the media refuses to cover it."

Key exchange:

COLLINS: "When the president was asked about [the Proud Boys] and you say he denounced them. That's what you are insisting that he did on the debate stage the other night. If that's the case, then why are they celebrating what the president said on the debate stage in front of millions of people?"
MCENANY: "I don't speak for that group, so I'm not sure why you're asking me why they're saying certain things."
COLLINS: "If someone denounced you, you probably wouldn't put it on a T-shirt and make badges of it, right?"
MCENANY: "The president did denounce them. He was asked, 'Will you tell them to stand down?' He said, 'Sure.' He said, 'Stand back.' And then just yesterday when he was asked, he said specifically, 'Stand down,' a synonym with 'stand back.' And the president said 'sure' when asked by the moderator whether they should stand down. It's really interesting too to see the media seems to be the only one putting the names of these groups into headlines, into media reporting. He didn't know who the Proud Boys were."

Go deeper: The array of far-right groups "standing by" after Trump's call

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated Jan 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Pelosi threatens second impeachment if Trump does not resign

Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to members Friday that Congress will move forward with impeaching President Trump for a second time if he does not leave office "imminently and willingly."

Driving the news: House Democrats had a caucus call at noon to discuss the topic of impeachment. Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) told CNN that Democrats could bring articles of impeachment to the House floor as soon as "mid-next week" if Vice President Pence and Cabinet members do not invoke the 25th Amendment.

Jan 7, 2021 - Podcasts

Inside the insurrection

Much of what happened Wednesday on Capitol Hill was not only predictable, but explicitly planned on internet message boards where the MAGA movement gets most darkly conspiratorial.

Axios Re:Cap digs into what led to the insurrection and what comes next with NBC News' Ben Collins, who covers online disinformation, and Lawyers' Committee attorney Arusha Gordon, who is leading a lawsuit against the Proud Boys.

CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers

Rochelle Walensky listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C. on July 20. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky on Friday reiterated her decision to go against a recommendation by a CDC advisory panel that refused to endorse booster shots for workers whose jobs put them at high risk for contracting COVID-19.

Driving the news: "Our healthcare systems are once again at maximum capacity in parts of the country, our teachers are facing uncertainty as they walk into the classroom," Walensky said at a Friday briefing. "I must do what I can to preserve the health across our nation."