After the first presidential debate on Tuesday, Democrats savaged President Donald Trump as a “white supremacist” and even Republicans said they wished the president had vocally condemned white supremacists. Trump clarified his remarks on Wednesday, explaining that he did not know who the Proud Boys are, insisting that he has “always denounced any form” of white supremacy, and demanding that Democratic nominee Joe Biden vocally denounce antifa.
During the debate, Fox News anchor and moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump, “Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups” — Trump cut in, saying, “Sure” — “and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha and as we’ve seen in Portland?”
“Sure, I’m willing to do that,” the president responded. “I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not from the right-wing. I’m willing to do anything, I want to see peace.”
“Well, then do it, sir,” Wallace said. “Do it. Say it,” Biden chimed in.
“What do you want to call them? Give me a name. Give me a name,” Trump said.
“White supremacists and right-wing militias,” Wallace said. Biden also spoke over him, saying, “White supremacists, Proud Boys.”
Trump, flustered, addressed the only named group, the Proud Boys. “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” the president said. “But I tell you what, I tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the Left.”
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