Charles Krauthammer and Laura Ingraham engaged in a heated back-and-forth on Fox News’ “Special Report” Tuesday night, hotly debating President Donald Trump’s remarks on Tuesday afternoon, in which he again blamed “both sides” for weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Trump unexpectedly took questions from reporters at a press conference on infrastructure about his response to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. At the rally, one protester was killed by a rally attendee and two state police officers died in a helicopter accident.
Trump issued a sharply worded statement condemning bigotry and violence Saturday, but was harshly criticized for not immediately denouncing Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists by name. He made a definitive statement on Monday that largely satisfied most critics.
Ingraham, the editor-in-chief of LifeZette and a Fox News contributor, said Trump was “torched” because people and media were conflating Trump’s base with white nationalists.
“Today he got caught in the pundit trap,” said Ingraham.
“He became a pundit, and what I think people want is Trump the president,” she continued. “When he does that he’s really powerful … [Trump’s denunciations] will never be enough for the people who despise him and his agenda.”
Ingraham said the “issue of the day” was infrastructure, which was the reason for the afternoon news conference at Trump Tower in New York. Ingraham said Trump’s comments on the rally during the availability Tuesday was a mistake because it distracted from the president’s agenda.
Krauthammer criticized Ingraham’s analysis.
“To critique what he did today on the grounds that it distracts from the agenda … is a cop-out,” Krauthammer said. “What Trump did today was a moral disgrace. He reverted back to Saturday.”
Krauthammer did not stop there. He bashed Trump for Monday’s statement, saying it was political stagecraft.
“Monday was a hostage tape,” Krauthammer said. “[It] was his aide speaking.”
Ingraham blasted Krauthammer, and said she resented his remark.
“I resent that you just said it was a cop-out,” said Ingraham. “I am not going to pass moral judgment on whether Donald Trump is morally on the same plane as you, Charles. I am sure you are a better person than he is.”
Ingraham said getting caught up in media narratives is not advancing Trump’s agenda.
“The point is, we are not discussing jobs here,” said Krauthammer, who said Trump undid his progress on Monday.
Krauthammer said Trump didn’t denounce white nationalism on Saturday because it wasn’t in his heart.
Ingraham didn’t buy Krauthammer’s theory that Trump didn’t believe his own statement on Monday.
“You can read a heart,” said Ingraham. “Wow, you really are a Ph.D.”
“What he said yesterday was what he was reading off a prompter,” Krauthammer replied. “He was not asked to do the press conference. His staff was shocked that he went into this. The reason he did it, he has a point to make and he made it very plain to the country that what he believes and what he feels is what he said on Saturday and not what he read two days later.”
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