President Donald Trump had a chance to condemn violent white supremacist militia groups such as the Proud Boys on Tuesday night, but all he did was give them marching orders instead.
The first 2020 presidential debate was a complete dumpster fire as Trump blustered and interrupted his way through the entire 90-minute showdown that demonstrated Biden to be the more responsible and presidential candidate.
A lot of that had to do with how Trump responded when asked by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace if he would disavow violent white supremacist groups that have been taking to the streets to commit violence against peaceful protesters.
“Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacist and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?” Wallace asked.
“I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing,” Trump whined before claiming, “I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.”
“Do it, sir,” Wallace replied.
“Say it,” Joe Biden demanded.
“What do you want to call them?” Trump asked. “Give me a name.”
“Proud Boys,” Biden responded.
Instead of condemning them and telling them to stand down, however, Trump told them to “stand by” during a debate in which he also doubled down on claims that the election is rigged and refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power should he lose.
“Proud Boys, stand back, and stand by!” Trump ordered. “I’ll tell you what. Somebody has got to do something about Antifa. This is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem!”
Here’s the video via Twitter:
Donald Trump tells the violent far-right group “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by” pic.twitter.com/wldCJRjl0F
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) September 30, 2020
According to NBC News, Trump’s order was met with elation from the group, which is considered a violent nationalistic hate group.
On the Proud Boys’ account on the social media app Telegram, the group appeared to take the statement as marching orders.
“Standing down and standing by sir,” the account wrote. The account then posted two videos of the answer, including one with the caption “God. Family. Brotherhood,” in which a man howled at the TV in response to Trump’s response.
It should be pointed out that there is no organized group known as Antifa. Antifa means anti-fascist, which is the majority of the American population. In fact, Antifa is not linked to any killings in this country. Right-wing extremists, on the other hand, have killed hundreds. Most recently, one right-wing extremist named Kyle Rittenhouse murdered two protesters in Wisconsin. So, Trump’s violent and hateful rhetoric has already resulted in killings. No doubt, there will be more if Trump loses and calls upon right-wing militias to help him stay in power by force.
That’s certainly how conservative columnist David French sees it.
“Stand back and stand by” is not a condemnation, it’s a call to be ready. In a nation wracked by unrest, that was one of the most irresponsible and reprehensible statements I’ve ever seen from a president. The Proud Boys are a violent vigilante militia. https://t.co/vrt3CUjFEw
— David French (@DavidAFrench) September 30, 2020
Americans need to be prepared to repel such actions if Trump loses, because he seems to be prepared to spill blood to stay in office.
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