In an interview Friday with Donald Trump Jr, George Stephanopoulos claimed that he had shared a “well known symbol of the white supremacist movement,” when he shared a photoshopped image depicting his father next to Pepe the Frog.
“You had an Instagram post last week that included Pepe the Frog, which is now a well-known symbol of the white supremacist movement,” Stephanopoulos alleged in an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America.
Trump Jr responded by saying, “I’ve never even heard of Pepe the Frog. I bet 90% of your viewers haven’t heard of Pepe the Frog. I thought it was a frog in a wig — I thought it was funny, I had no idea that there was any connotation there.”
He added that the accusations against Pepe were a sign that journalists cannot credibly attack his father’s policy proposals. “They don’t even have answers
The row over Pepe the Frog, a popular Internet meme in use since 2008, was initiated by the Clinton campaign after Elizabeth Chan, one of Clinton’s senior strategists, wrote a blog post in which she claimed Pepe was a “symbol associated with white supremacy.”
Stephanopoulos also referenced Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos in the photo, though not by name. “There are others in there who have been taken off Twitter because of their racist statements,” he said. Milo is the only person in the photo to have had their Twitter account suspended. Twitter, in its justification of the lifetime ban, falsely stated that Yiannopoulos incited “harassment” after Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones complained directly to Jack Dorsey, the social media company’s CEO.
Earlier in the interview, Trump pushed back against accusations that he made a Holocaust joke about the “gas chamber” method of capital punishment. He cited his relationship with his sister, a convert to Orthodox Judaism, and several close friends, then recalled how he made the same joke but said “electric chair” just weeks ago.
Trump said this controversy illustrated why a recent Gallup poll showed that the American public’s trust of journalists has reached a record low. “If you’re a conservative, you don’t even get a fair shot,” he said. “They don’t even give you the benefit of the doubt… It’s why less than a third of Americans even trust the media anymore.”
Stephanopoulos did not disclose during this interview, and does not disclose during coverage of the 2016 election, that he worked in the White House as Senior Adviser to the President during Bill Clinton’s first term. ABC News has designated Stephanopoulos the lead anchor in its 2016 election coverage.