Trump Campaign Tries To Clean Up POTUS’ Proud Boys Remark

A man wears a Proud Boy vest as several hundred members of the Proud Boys and other similar groups gathered at Delta Park in Portland, Oregon on September 26, 2020. - Far-right group "Proud Boys" members gather in Po... A man wears a Proud Boy vest as several hundred members of the Proud Boys and other similar groups gathered at Delta Park in Portland, Oregon on September 26, 2020. - Far-right group "Proud Boys" members gather in Portland to show support to US president Donald Trump and to condemn violence that have been occurring for more than three months during "Black Lives Matter" and "Antifa" protests. (Photo by Maranie R. STAAB / AFP) (Photo by MARANIE R. STAAB/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS

National Press Secretary for the Trump campaign Hogan Gidley on Wednesday tried to clean up the President’s refusal to condemn white supremacy during the first presidential debates.

When asked what President Donald Trump meant when he told the Proud Boys, a known hate group that openly endorses violence to “stand by,” Gidley suggested that the President meant that he “wants them to get out of the way.” 

“He wants them to not do the things they say they want to do,” Gidley said, adding that the Proud Boys are “a reprehensible group.” 

Gidley asserted that President Trump has condemned white supremacists “many times,” even though Trump has famously defended them repeatedly. Within the first year of his presidency in 2017, in the wake of a torch-bearing white nationalist rally that turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump infamously said there were “very fine people” on both sides.

“He’s condemned white supremacy by name on many occasions,” Gidley said, adding: “This president recognizes the scourge on this community. And on this country and he calls them out for it.” 

But others have suggested that the President’s comments were a clear call to his white supremacist supporters. In a CNN interview late Tuesday, vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris decried Trump’s refusal to disavow white supremacy.

“The President of the United States, in the year of our lord 2020, refuses to condemn white supremacists,” Harris said. “This is a president, you know, people talk about dog whistling. Dog whistling through a bullhorn is what he is doing.”

Even the Proud Boys celebrated Trump’s remarks. Per The New York Times, within minutes of Trump’s call for them to stand by, members of the group were posting in private social media channels, lauding Trump’s words as “historic.”

In another message, a member said the group was already welcoming a spike in “new recruits.”

In an attempt to further distract from Trump’s message to the group, Gidley said it was a boon that Trump had recently announced his intentions to label both the Ku Klux Klan and antifa as terrorist organizations — even though Trump’s own FBI director said in congressional testimony earlier this month that antifa represents an ideology and is not an organization.

The Trump campaign also shared a video clip late Tuesday, in defense of Trump, saying that the President had twice affirmed during the debate that he was willing to condemn white supremacists and militia groups.

In a separate clip, the Trump campaign cited seven examples of Trump “condemning the KKK.” Notably, four of the cited examples were taken from clips before Trump became president.


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