President Donald Trump tried to walk back his shoutout to the far-right extremist group known as the Proud Boys on Wednesday by claiming he doesn’t know who they are–despite calling on them by name and telling them to “stand by” the night before.
“I don’t know who Proud Boys are,” Trump told reporters. “But whoever they are, they have to stand down and let law enforcement do their work.”
Then the President deflected by calling on his Democratic rival Joe Biden to “condemn” antifa, which Trump claimed to be “the real problem” even though antifa (short for “anti-fascist”) is a movement, not an organization.
When asked if he welcomed the way white supremacists openly embrace him, Trump wouldn’t answer directly and said only that he wanted “law and order” and ranted against the notion of defunding the police.
“But do you denounce [white supremacists]?” a reporter pressed.
“I’ve always denounced any form, any form, any form of any of that,” Trump replied, a patently false claim given his refusal to do so when asked during the Tuesday night presidential debate. Instead, the President had said: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.”
Additionally, he declined to condemn white supremacists after the 2017 Charlottesville neo-Nazi rally, describing them as “very fine people.”
Watch Trump below:
Trump claims he doesn't know who the Proud Boys are despite addressing them directly and telling them to "stand by" during the debate. pic.twitter.com/GN1uQCTbsd
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) September 30, 2020