President Trump expressly condemned the Ku Klux Klan, the Proud Boys, and white supremacists on Thursday evening.
Trump appeared on Fox News with host Sean Hannity and condemned the groups after an uproar over comments he made during the first presidential debate on Tuesday night. Trump has repeatedly disavowed and condemned white supremacists groups in the past.
“I go through this every year, every time somebody says something and you look at their records, their records are horrible. It’s fake news,” Trump said. “You look at, I watched [Fox News reporter John Roberts] screaming at [Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany], and Kayleigh was so wonderful the way she handled it, but I watched him screaming and his wife, John’s wife, was saying, ‘What are you doing?’ because yesterday I made a statement that was, according to most, it was a perfect statement.”
“I’ve said it so many times even beyond that. And no matter what you say, it’ll never, it’ll just keep going, going, going,” Trump added. “I’ve said it many times and let me be clear again. 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 then called on Democratic nominee Joe Biden to condemn Antifa, a left-wing extremist group that the Department of Justice has accused of inciting violence and carrying out attacks on people and property during riots throughout the summer.
“[Biden] should condemn also Antifa. Antifa is a horrible group of people. They kill people and what they do to people, they’re causing insurrection, they’re causing riots. He doesn’t want to do that, but the press doesn’t go after him and that’s a really bad group of people,” Trump said. “But I condemn [white supremacists and the Proud Boys] and if I say it 100 times it won’t be enough because it’s fake news.”
"Yesterday I made a statement that was according to most, a perfect statement … I've said it many times, let me be clear again, I condemn the KKK, I condemn all white supremacists, I condemn the Proud Boys … [Biden] should condemn antifa" — Trump pic.twitter.com/2b2vUCZaJW
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 2, 2020
Notably, the Proud Boys is not an officially white supremacist organization. It is a paramilitary group that has offered to stand in the place of law enforcement and police rallies held by Antifa and other left-wing groups, and it has also staged counter protests to Antifa. Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tarrio is a Cuban American who is also leading a grassroots Latinos for Trump movement. Tarrio has condemned white supremacy.
Members of the media and lawmakers have repeatedly called for Trump to condemn white supremacy despite his condemnation during Tuesday night’s debate. During the debate, moderator Chris Wallace had asked Trump to condemn “white supremacist and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities?”
Trump responded, “Sure, I’m willing to do that,” before asserting that most of the violent and illegal acts committed at protests and riots are from left-wing actors such as member of Antifa and people associated with Black Lives Matter.