Two days after the White House publicly encouraged ESPN to fire host Jemele Hill for calling Trump a white supremacist, Trump himself attacked the network, characterized the idea that he’s a bigot as an “untruth,” and demanded an apology.
“ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming),” Trump tweeted. “People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth!”
ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
Trump’s apology demand comes one day after he reiterated his widely-denounced comments that “both sides” were to blame for the violence at a white supremacists march last month in Charlottesville. His comments marked the third occasion that the president has advanced the idea that there’s a moral equivalence between racists and those who gather to protest them.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday, Trump said that he’s actually heard from many people who appreciated his moral equivocation, which was widely applauded by white supremacists.
“I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what’s going on there, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also and essentially that’s what I said,” Trump said on Thursday. “When you look at really what’s happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying and people have actually written, ‘Gee, Trump may have a point.’ I said there’s some very bad people on the other side also.”
Trump says he told Sen. Tim Scott that "you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also" in Charlottesville https://t.co/eaxC7fm9Nn
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) September 14, 2017
Rather than apologizing for saying there “were very fine people” among the white supremacists who gathered in Charlottesville, made Nazi salutes, and marched through the streets chanting “Jews will not replace us” the day before an alleged Nazi sympathizer drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring 19 others, Trump reaffirmed his original position. At the same time, he’s demanding an apology from a black woman who tweeted, “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself [with] other white supremacists.”
The day after Hill posted that tweet, ESPN released a statement saying her comments “do not represent the position of ESPN.” Hill hasn’t apologized for her comments, but released a statement expressing regret that her comments “painted ESPN in an unfair light.”
On Thursday, ThinkProgress broke news that on the same day Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders encouraged ESPN to fire Hill from the White House podium, ESPN made an unsuccessful attempt to kick Hill off the air and replace her with another anchor.
Not only has Trump not apologized for defending white supremacists, but he’s invited people like Ted Nugent to the White House. In 2012, Nugent was investigated by the Secret Service for threatening President Obama, but instead of demanding that Nugent apologize, Trump defended him.