President Donald Trump explicitly condemned white supremacist groups Thursday evening, after he came under fire for saying at the debate on Tuesday that the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, should “stand by.”
“I condemn the KKK. 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 in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday evening. However, he added that Biden “should condemn also Antifa.”
When asked by moderator Chris Wallace if he would condemn white supremacist groups on Tuesday, Trump responded “sure” and said that he was “willing to do that” but then quickly blamed most of the recent unrest in cities across the country on “the left wing.” Trump asked Wallace, “Who would you like me to condemn,” and Biden jumped in asking the president to respond to the Proud Boys.
“The Proud Boys — stand back and stand by,” Trump said.
Trump later revisited his statement, claiming on Wednesday that he didn’t know “who the Proud Boys are.”
“I can only say they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work,” Trump said. When asked if he denounced white supremacy, Trump said “I’ve always denounced any form,” without saying the words “white supremacy” explicitly.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also dismissed any criticisms on Thursday when she was asked if he condemned white supremacy.
“The president was asked this; he said, ‘Sure, three times. Yesterday he was point-blank asked, ‘Do you denounce white supremacy?’ And he said, ‘I’ve always denounced any form of that.'”
McEnany also said that Trump has condemned white supremacy repeatedly over the past four years.