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White House Calls Congressional Republicans 'Out of Step' on Race

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White House press secretary Josh Earnest gestures as he answers a question during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. Earnest talked about temperature screenings at five airports for passengers arriving from West Africa to fight the Ebola outbreak. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) AP Photo/Evan Vucci

White House press secretary Josh Earnest accused congressional Republicans of being out of step with America on race, invoking the Confederate battle flag, the third-ranking House Republican and Donald Trump.

Earnest said it was "good news and progress" that the South Carolina legislature voted to take the Confederate flag down from the state Capitol grounds.

"Republicans in Congress, however, seem to have values and priorities that lie elsewhere," Earnest said. "Right now the interior appropriations bill in the House is jammed up because a sizeable number of House Republican are eager to protect the status of the Confederate flag on National Park Service ground."

White House press secretary Josh Earnest speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. Earnest touched on various topics including the White House fence jumper. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Earnest talked about amendments by some House Republicans to prevent the National Park Service from eliminating the Confederate battle flag from national parks. He also brought up comments by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.)

These are the same House Republicans who voted for a party leader who onece described himself as 'David Duke without the baggage,'" Earnest said.

He threw Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump into the mix, though without mentioning him by name. Trump has come under scrutiny for controversial comments about Mexican immigrants.

"These are the same congressional Republicans who have declined to criticize the race-baiting rhetoric of a leading Republican presidential candidate," Earnest said. "That’s to say nothing of the Senate Republican who has saluted that candidate. So when you hear me say that congressional Republicans have an agenda that is out of step with the majority of Americans, this record, at least in part, is what I’m referring to."

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