No, Trump Didn't Refuse to Denounce 'White Supremacist' Groups

Brittany M. Hughes | September 30, 2020
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In all the chaos that was Tuesday night’s presidential debate, in which President Donald Trump largely talked over former Vice President Joe Biden and in which Biden repeatedly peddled untruths while telling the president to “shut up,” moderator – if one can truly can him that – Chris Wallace repeatedly pressed Trump to denounce “white supremacist groups” in a heated exchange that left the media once again accusing the president of defending racists.

For example, over at the New York Times, they ran with this headline: Trump Refuses to Denounce White Supremacy in Chaotic Debate.

Too bad it's false.

While it was nearly impossible to make out entire answers while listening to the debate, given the number of interruptions, unfinished thoughts, and rabbit trails, the transcript from Tuesday’s event proves what close listeners already knew – that Trump never refused to condemn right-wing violence.

WALLACE: You have repeatedly criticized the vice president for not specifically calling out Antifa and other left wing extremist groups. But are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia group 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.

TRUMP: Sure, I'm willing to do that.

WALLACE: Are you prepared specifically to do it.

TRUMP: I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing not from the right wing.

WALLACE: But what are you saying?

TRUMP: I'm willing to do anything. I want to see peace.

WALLACE: Well, do it, sir.

BIDEN: Say it, do it say it.

TRUMP: What do you want to call them? Give me a name, give me a name, go ahead. Who do you want me to condemn?

WALLACE: White supremacist and white militia.

BIDEN: Proud Boys.

TRUMP: Okay, Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what somebody's got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right wing problem this is a left wing.


Now, short of intentional dishonesty, I'm not sure how anyone can interpret "Sure, I'm willing to do that" as a refusal, but there it is.

And like it or not, he’s right. While there have been very few reports of actual right-wing “militias” causing any violence other than assembling to defend cities from violence and looting, Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioters have torched cities and looted, burned and destroyed countless businesses, set fire to homes, killed police officers and sent others to the hospital, and even shot a Trump supporter dead in the street.

Of course, Wallace never asked Biden to condemn Black Lives Matter or Antifa, even when Biden alleged that Antifa, the group that literally took over several city blocks in Seattle for weeks this past summer, is “an idea, not an organization.”

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