Trump Tells Violent, Far-Right Group: ‘Stand Back and Stand By’

President Donald Trump urged a violent, far-right group to “stand by” during a heated exchange over race relations in America while debating Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Asked by moderator Chris Wallace to disavow White supremacist groups and right-wing militia, Trump said “sure” but refused to explicitly do so. He instead said “who would you like me to condemn?”

When Biden suggested the Proud Boys, a far-right neo-fascist organization, Trump said they should “stand back and stand by.”

The Proud Boys organization started in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes to fight “political correctness” and a “White guilt” agenda, according to theSouthern Poverty Law Center.

The group has participated in rallies across the U.S., including a violent clash with protesters in Portland, Oregon, in 2018. They also attended the “Unite the Right” rally alongside other White supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

Following the debate exchange, members of the Proud Boys were celebrating the president’s comments on platforms such as Parler and Telegram.

Joe Biggs, a Proud Boys supporter on social media who organized anti-antifa protests in Portland posted, “This makes me so happy.” The post was viewed 12,000 times in two hours and spread across mainstream platforms. Biggs soon followed-up the post with a logo adopting the president’s debate-night statement as a Proud Boys slogan. It was viewed just over 9,000 times in an hour on Parler.

Another supporter of the group on Parler simply stated, “standing by sir.” It was viewed 12,000 times in two hours.

In response to Trump’s comments, Anti-Defamation League Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted that Trump “owes America an apology or an explanation. Now.”

@JGreenblattADL

It’s astonishing that, when asked a simple question, will you condemn white supremacists, @POTUS responded – “The Proud Boys should stand back and stand by.” Trying to determine if this was an answer or an admission. @POTUS owes America an apology or an explanation. Now.Axios

@axiosChris Wallace: “Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down…”
Trump: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by! But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left.”

4:23 AM · Sep 30, 2020

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Trump said the real problem is with the far-left anti fascist movement known as antifa, which the president has called a terrorist organization. Biden responded by referring to recent comments by FBI Director Chris Wray that antifa is an ideology not an organization.

Chad Wolf, Trump’s nominee to lead the agency in charge of curbing domestic terrorism, told senators earlier this month that White supremacists have become the “most persistent and lethal threat” to the U.S. from within the country.

“Everything I see is from the left wing, not the right wing” Trump said. “Somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem.”

After the debate, the Trump campaign tweeted clips of him previously condemning racism and the Ku Klux Klan.

— With assistance by Josh Wingrove, and Kartikay Mehrotra

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