Trump Refuses To Denounce White Supremacy In First Presidential Debate
Donald Trump refused to denounce White supremacy in his first presidential debate with democratic candidate Joe Biden.
The debate kicked off in Cleveland, Ohio last night, September 29, and what followed was 90 minutes of what has largely been described as chaos as Trump, Biden and moderator Chris Wallace frequently spoke over and interrupted one another.
Viewers were left stressed as they attempted to learn more about each candidate’s views on certain topics, but amid the noise one thing became clear: Trump refused to denounce White supremacy.
Take a look at what happened below:
Addressing Trump, Wallace asked whether he would be willing to condemn ‘White supremacists and militia groups’ – to which Trump interrupted with a ‘sure’, before Wallace continued, ‘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?’.
Faced with the complete question, Trump said he would be ‘prepared to do that’ before immediately sidestepping the question.
But I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not from the right wing. If you look, I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.
Following the president’s insistence that he wants to ‘see peace’, both Wallace and Biden encouraged him to denounce White supremacy, saying, ‘then do it’.
Trump appeared to stall further as he asked who exactly they would like him to condemn, with Wallace clarifying, ‘White supremacists, White supremacists and right-wing militia.’
Rather than declaring a clear condemnation of White supremacy, Trump addressed the Proud Boys, a far-right and neo-fascist organisation, and told the group to ‘stand back and stand by’.
His response has been criticised online as in telling the group to ‘stand by’, he implied it should be ready to return at any moment.
In a telling tweet, the account for dictionary Mirriam Webster wrote:
‘Stand back’: to take a few steps backwards
‘Stand by’: to be or to get ready to act
The Proud Boys group seemed to take a similar viewpoint as it appeared to celebrate Trump’s comments on social media, writing, ‘Standing down and standing by sir.’
Trump then proceeded to quickly counter his statement to the Proud Boys by saying that ‘somebody’ had to ‘do something about Antifa and the left’.
Repeating his earlier argument, he continued:
Because this is not a right-wing problem – this is a left-wing problem.
Biden argued that the FBI director had described Antifa, a militant anti-fascist and left-wing political movement, as an ‘idea, not an organisation; not militias’. Trump dismissed his fellow candidate, saying he had to ‘be kidding’ before describing Antifa as a ‘dangerous, radical group’ who would ‘overthrow’ Biden.
According to NPR, the US federal government has deemed White supremacist terrorism among the most serious threats facing the nation, making Trump’s refusal to denounce it all the more concerning.
In testimony made to the House Homeland Security Committee this month, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the majority of domestic terrorism threats and violence come from ‘racially-motivated violent extremism’, mostly from people who subscribe to White supremacist ideologies.
In comparison, Wray described Antifa as an ideology or movement rather than an organised group, and said protest-related violence doesn’t appear to be organised or connected to one group.
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