Leading Republicans are covering up for Trump's racism, but the facts are not their friends.
Donald Trump’s racist rant about “shithole countries” only reinforced what most of the world already knew about him.
But in the wake of the latest bigoted outburst from Trump, Republicans are exposing themselves as liars and cowards, and objective reporters are taking note of it.
On Sunday’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, Georgia Sen. David Perdue changed his story about the meeting in which Trump made the racist remarks. After first saying in a statement that he did “not recall” Trump using that language, Perdue told Stephanopoulos that Trump flat-out did not use the word “shithole.”
But ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl called Purdue out later in the show, pointing out that the White House did not deny the story when it came out, nor did anyone at the meeting, and highlighting Perdue’s late-in-the-game shift.
And ABC News congressional reporter Mary Bruce followed up by excoriating Republican leaders for their weak responses, singling out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan.
KARL: George, as soon as this story broke, we were speaking to people at the White House. There was no denial whatsoever. The White House put out a public statement making absolutely no denial. We spoke to the members of Congress that were in the room. No denial.
Perdue finally put out something saying he didn’t recall it, and now something look, the bottom line is, the fundamental thing that he was saying was ‘We want to have more immigrants from countries like Norway, fewer from countries like those in Africa and Haiti.’ Nobody has disputed that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mary Bruce, you were on Capitol Hill that afternoon. It shot across the Capitol.
BRUCE: Remember that lawmakers, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, went to the White House thinking they had a deal here that met the parameters outlined by the president himself earlier in the week. They get into the room. They’re essentially ambushed, we were told, by these hardline anti-immigration Republican members of Congress, and it all blows up.
And, look, they really thought that they had something here. And it puts Republicans now in this incredibly tricky position, once again by their own president. And while you have many Republicans coming out condemning the president’s statements, where is leadership on this? You have heard nothing from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, not a peep from many Republican leaders. Paul Ryan has come out and described the presidents comments as unfortunate and unhelpful.
I think for a lot of people, that’s how they would describe a parking ticket.
Americans are now left to ponder whether Republicans who defend Trump’s racism are worse than those who see it only as a potential political liability like Ryan, those who lie about it like Perdue, or those who are simply too craven to say anything at all about it like McConnell.