“But are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups 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? Are you prepared to specifically do that?”
During the first (and possibly last) presidential debate, Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked President Donald Trump whether he was willing to condemn white supremacy. The narrative immediately pushed by the Democratic Party was that Donald Trump “refused to disavow white supremacists.”
An ad released by Joe Biden also implied that Kyle Rittenhouse is a white supremacist, with Rittenhouse’s attorney threatening to file a defamation lawsuit.
There’s no other way to put it: the President of the United States refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage last night. pic.twitter.com/Q3VZTW1vUV
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 30, 2020
The media also pushed this same conclusion. The New York Times reported “Trump Refuses to Denounce White Supremacy in Chaotic Debate.” Politico went with “Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists launches an online furor.” The Hill reported “Trump refuses to denounce white supremacy, says ‘stand back and stand by’ on Proud Boys movement.” NPR chose “From Debate Stage, Trump Declines To Denounce White Supremacy.” CNN went with “Trump refuses to condemn White supremacists at presidential debate.” The Atlantic published “Why Can’t He Just Say It? President Donald Trump refused to clearly condemn white supremacy at least night’s debate. This was no accident.” Forbes chose “‘Fascism At Our Door’: Outrage Grows After Trump Refuses To Denounce White Supremacy.”
Those of us who have maintained some semblance of mental clarity during 2020 will no doubt draw a few conclusions from these clearly coordinated reactions.
Firstly, the report that Trump “refused” to condemn white supremacy is laughably presumptive given that the first word out of Trump’s mouth in response to Wallace’s question was “sure.” Secondly, it’s patently absurd that Trump’s imaginary association with the Proud Boys is being used as evidence of support for white supremacy, given that their national chairman Enrique Tarrio identifies as an Afro-Cuban.
Finally, the most obvious conclusion is that both the Democrats and the mainstream media must not have been paying attention, as Trump has repeatedly condemned white supremacists, as described by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
Kayleigh McEnany: "[Trump] has condemned white supremacy more than any President in modern history." pic.twitter.com/JPY2AYp8t0
— The Hill (@thehill) October 1, 2020
The fact that Trump’s behavior as a private citizen (for example, routinely socializing with Jews and black people), his repeated rejection of white supremacist groups (including calls to designate the Ku Klux Klan a terrorist organization as part of his “Platinum Plan”), or that multiple members of his immediate family are Jewish should be sufficient evidence that Trump is not a white supremacist. Given these simple facts, just why are the mainstream media continuing to promote this claim?
The reason is simple. The strategy at play is an example of a “loaded question,” a question built on a controversial and unsubstantiated assumption.
In the context of demanding that Trump denounce white supremacy, the goal is two-fold. Firstly, the Left are hoping that Trump will provide one of his stereotypically careless answers which can be easily spun as proof of his guilt. An example of such a response is his now infamous “fine people on both sides” comment, which the Left continues to mischaracterize to this day. Secondly, the Left don’t actually care if Trump does indeed condemn white supremacists (as he has done time, after time, after time), because the answer is not important.
What is important is the premise of the question, which is that there is a reason we want Trump to condemn white supremacy. This reason, according to the Left, is that there are legitimate suspicions that Trump is either a white supremacist, or is happy to use white supremacists as a reliable base of support.
Both of these suspicions are ultimately baseless. There are legitimate criticisms to be made of Trump’s refusal to separate himself from the far-right and alt-right elements of his base during the 2016 election, but since then he has made substantial and repeated efforts to reject such radical ideologies and groups. With that in mind, we must understand that it is not the question which is objectionable, but the premise underlying the question.
Therefore, when the Democrats and the media inevitably demand that Trump again condemns white supremacy, we must reject the premise.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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