Rick Santorum says asking Trump to condemn right-wing extremists is unfair because they're his base

CNNRick Santorum on CNN on Tuesday night.
  • The Republican former Sen. Rick Santorum said that asking President Donald Trump to denounce white supremacists was a low blow because they were his voter base.
  • In Tuesday night’s presidential debate, the moderator, Chris Wallace, asked Trump to denounce racism and right-wing militias.
  • Santorum later told CNN that Wallace “was asking the president to do something he knows the president doesn’t like to do.”
  • Asked to elaborate, Santorum said: “Which is say something bad about people who support him … talking about the white supremacists.”
  • During the debate Trump had answered Wallace’s question by telling the extremist Proud Boys group to “stand back and stand by.”
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The Republican former Sen. Rick Santorum said that asking President Donald Trump to condemn right-wing extremists during Tuesday night’s debate with Joe Biden was unfair because it meant alienating Trump’s supporters.

Santorum, who in 2012 lost out to Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee for president, appeared on CNN and suggested the debate moderator Chris Wallace set Trump up.

“The Democrats owe a lot to Chris Wallace,” Santorum said. “He asked two questions, where he was asking the president to do something he knows the president doesn’t like to do.”

Asked to elaborate, Santorum said: “Which is say something bad about people who support him. Right?”

“Talking about the white supremacists, number one.”

Wallace had asked Trump whether he would condemn right-wing extremism, prompting an exchange in which all three participants talked over one another and Biden ultimately mentioned the Proud Boys group.

Rather than explicitly condemn the group, which the Southern Poverty Law Centre considers a hate group, Trump said its members should “stand back and stand by.”

Santorum did tell CNN, however, that he thought Biden edged Trump in the overall debate.

“I don’t think it worked for him tonight,” he said of Trump, adding: “I think he came out way too hot.”

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