Speed Reads

2020 presidential debate

Trump refuses to condemn white supremacists, tells Proud Boys to 'stand back and stand by'

President Trump refused to condemn white supremacists by name during Tuesday night's debate, instead castigating antifa and calling the movement "a dangerous, radical group."

Moderator Chris Wallace said that Trump has repeatedly criticized Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for not explicitly calling out left-wing extremist groups, and asked him if he was "willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence at a number of these cities, as we saw in Kenosha and as we've seen in Portland."

"Sure, I'm willing to do that, but I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not the right wing," Trump responded. "I'm willing to do anything, I want to see peace." Wallace responded, "Then do it, sir," to which Trump replied, "You want to call them, what do you want to call them, give me a name, give me a name, who would you like me to condemn?"

Both Wallace and Biden said "white supremacists" and "Proud Boys," referring to the far-right extremist group. "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by," Trump responded. "I'll tell you what, I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem, this is a left-wing problem."

Biden noted that FBI Director Christopher Wray has described antifa as an ideology rather than an organized group. Meanwhile, reporters observed that the Proud Boys seemed to be celebrating the president's answer to the question. Catherine Garcia