Trump tells Proud Boys to 'stand by' after being asked to condemn white supremacists in presidential debate

Morry Gash-Pool/Getty ImagesTrump during the first presidential debate against Biden at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29 in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • President Donald Trump hesitated to condemn white supremacists during the first presidential debate.
  • “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump said on Tuesday evening after being pressed by former Vice President Joe Biden.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump hesitated when asked to condemn white supremacists during the first presidential debate on Tuesday evening.

During a segment dedicated to race, Chris Wallace, the moderator, asked Trump, “Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?”

Trump tiptoed around the question and instead doubled down that “almost everything I see is from the left wing, not from the right wing.”

Wallace pushed back on Trump, along with former Vice President Joe Biden, and again asked him to address right-wing violence.

“What do you want to call them?” Trump asked. “Give me a name, give me a name.”

“Proud Boys,” Biden said, referring to a far-right group.

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump responded.

The Proud Boys regularly espouse anti-Muslim, anti-immigration, and misogynistic positions. They have been labelled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.

Members of the group quickly exploded online with interest in Trump’s comments, resharing and embedding the words into a graphic with their logo.

The president has faced immense criticism for failing to explicitly denounce white supremacy at times, notably after a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 that led to violence.

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