Rep. James Comer: Trump ‘needs better judgment’ about guests after dining with White supremacist
Rep. James Comer, R-North Carolina, on Wednesday said he did not believe President Donald Trump needed to explain who was at a social media summit he attended earlier in the day with his controversial friend and white supremacist Richard Spencer.
“I don’t think he needs to do that,” he told The Associated Press in an interview at his office in Raleigh. “I think it comes and goes. It depends on the president.”
The president tweeted Tuesday that he had lunch earlier Wednesday with Spencer, who has used racial slurs against African-Americans and Jewish people in his past, and that discussions were focused on infrastructure in states like his home state of North Carolina. He said Spencer, an associate of white supremacists who has pushed to remove a statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee at the University of Virginia, was a “fantastic guy.”
The president’s visit came amid allegations that Spencer has been engaging in a public relations stunt to drum up publicity ahead of a planned march by the white nationalist group Identity Evropa on Saturday. Trump has insisted that the “unrest” has nothing to do with him but his supporters on both sides of the political divide are skeptical.
I don’t think he needs to do that. I think it comes and goes. It depends on the president.
Rep. James Comer, R-North Carolina
The lawmaker had been holding the event with Spencer before Trump’s tweet and spoke to Trump in the Oval Office before the lunch, Comer said.
Comer said he had not been informed the White House was planning a joint event with Spencer beforehand.
“All the information that I get, particularly on an event that’s going to be that political, that will be of a nature that will be contentious, is from the media,” he said. “There is no contact with the White House on anything, other than the media’s contact.”