Brett Samuels, The Hill, October 1, 2020
President Trump on Thursday condemned white supremacists, attempting to put to rest an issue that has dogged him since the first presidential debate earlier in the week when he told a far-right group to “stand by.”
“I’ve said it many times, and let me be clear again: I condemn the [Ku Klux Klan]. I condemn all white supremacists. I condemn the Proud Boys. I don’t know much about the Proud Boys, almost nothing. But I condemn that,” Trump said on Sean Hannity‘s Fox News show.
The president’s clear denunciation came after he and his spokespeople faced pressure to clarify his views on white supremacist groups after he told the Proud Boys, a far-right militia group, to “stand back and stand by” on Tuesday night.
The president appeared to equivocate during Thursday’s interview between white supremacist groups and left-wing demonstrators who loosely identify with antifa. Trump told Hannity that Biden should condemn antifa, which he described as “a horrible group of people.”
When Fox News host and moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump during Tuesday’s debate if he was willing to condemn white supremacy and militia groups, Trump said “sure” but insisted “left-wing” groups were to blame for most violence. When pressed to explicitly condemn white supremacy, Trump stopped and asked for a name of a group, leading to the Proud Boys comment.