Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham fought back Tuesday after pundit Charles Krauthammer rebutted her response to President Donald Trump’s press conference as a “cop-out.”
Ingraham framed the furor that erupted after Trump put blame on both sides for clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters that left one person dead and 19 injured Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, as his agenda being “sidetracked.”
“I think today he’s really torched about people conflating Trump support with white nationalists,” she said. “You can see it and hear it in his responses, and I understand that, but he’s not there to win every debating point. People want to see a calm president in the storm.”
“I think today, I think he made some points that were factually right. There was violence on both sides of that event on Saturday. Anyone who’s watched the video could see it. But he’s not there to win every point,” Ingraham said.
“He’s there to calmly guide the nation through what at the moment is a very troubled time. And advance an agenda of economic empowerment, streamlining regulations, and keeping very optimistic and positive about the American spirit,” she said.
Krauthammer was having none of it.
“To critique what he did today on the grounds that it distracts from the agenda or it was a tactical mistake, I believe is a cop-out. What Trump did today is a moral disgrace,” he said.
Krauthammer said that Trump showed his true self on Saturday and Tuesday, when he blamed both sides. He called Monday’s statement condemning white supremacists as “a hostage tape,” adding, “that wasn’t Trump speaking, that was the aide speaking.”
Krauthammer said Trump missed the point, which to him was not whether there were “bad guys on both sides,” but that one side was inherently evil because it was pro-Nazi.
“Racism is evil, those who engage in violence are criminals and thugs,” Ingraham said, interrupting Krauthammer.
“I guess what Charles just said is Donald Trump doesn’t mean that. Now if you’re gonna say Donald Trump is a racist, or he’s stupid, or he’s some dumb troglodyte, whose just doing a hostage tape, I guess you can tell all our Fox viewers that,” she said.
She then piled on her criticism.
“And I resent that you just said it was a cop-out what I said on this set. To critique what he said today is what we were asked to do on this show tonight. I’m not gonna pass moral judgment on whether Donald Trump is, uh, you know morally on the same plane as you are, Charles. I’m sure you are a better person than he is,” Ingraham said.
“We have to be honest about the evil of racism, and also honest about the evil of a far left that is trying to tear down both history and intimidate free speech in the country,” she said. “That is not defending neo-Nazis, that is not defending white supremacists, it’s stating a fact about antifa.”
“I never said he was defending neo-Nazis,” Krauthammer said. “The point is we’re not discussing jobs here. We’re not discussing an agenda here. We’re discussing the unique roll of a president of speaking for the moral conscience of a country.”
Ingraham then said that the debate in the media is not about the issue that sparked the rally — moving a statue of Robert E. Lee.
“I think he made, I think his statement yesterday was clear and strong and it was compassionate. I think he should have said it on Saturday. I have no idea why he didn’t. But what has been going on in the media – it’s not about the statues, it’s not about people who are offended by the statues, you know it’s about power and control,” she said.
“You said you have no idea why he didn’t say it on Saturday?” Krauthammer said. “I’ll tell you why he didn’t say it on Saturday, which he made plain today. Because that’s not what’s in his heart.”
“You can read a heart? Wow, you really are a Ph.D,” Ingraham said.
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