The presidential debate on Tuesday turned out to be an utter disgrace as President Trump debased himself and his office by constantly talking over the moderator and his opponent Joe Biden, hurling insults, spewing lies, and generally conducting himself like a poorly behaved child. It was an embarrassing moment for the United States and a potent reminder of just how important the coming election really is. This country will never recover if subjected to four more years of this deranged man-child’s rule.
By far the worst moment of the debate was when Trump was pushed by Chris Wallace to condemn white supremacists. The president hemmed and hawed, speaking in circles until Biden asked him to denounce the Proud Boys—a violent neo-fascist organization that regularly engages in violence against peaceful protestors—at which point Trump told the group to “stand back and stand by.”
In other words, not only did Trump refuse to condemn white supremacy, he ordered a far-right paramilitary group to “stand by,” presumably for further orders. The disturbing moment was met with widespread alarm and condemnation.
Chris Wallace: "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down…"
Trump: "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by! But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left." pic.twitter.com/4vrPocKzcu
— Axios (@axios) September 30, 2020
Trump made a lukewarm attempt at damage control yesterday by claiming that he doesn’t know who the Proud Boys are, a dubious claim at best. The fact that he didn’t take the most obvious approach by saying he misspoke in the moment and that he condemns the Proud Boys and white supremacists all over, speaks volumes. Trump is still afraid to denounce racists because he believes they’re on his side and will vote for him.
During a press briefing today, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany managed to throw gasoline on the fire of the growing scandal. Fox’s John Roberts asked her for a “definitive and declarative statement without ambiguity or deflection” on whether or not President Trump denounces white supremacism. Rather than answering the incredibly simple question directly, McEnany obfuscated and evaded.
She claimed that Trump himself has repeatedly denounced white supremacy and reeled off a list of some of the incredibly milquetoast comments he’s made in the past about racism. Absurdly, she claimed that Trump has “condemned white supremacy more than any president in modern history.” Her remarks were deeply unconvincing and stopped short of a simple, straightforward, and unequivocal statement that Trump does not want the support of racists.
Roberts pressed her for a clear statement that Trump denounces white supremacy.
“I just did,” she said, giving yet another slippery response. “The president has denounced this repeatedly,” she claimed before accusing Roberts of “contriving a storyline.” Roberts pressed her again and again she insisted that she already had. It was a truly bizarre performance that can only really be explained by presuming a desire on the part of the White House to continue winking at bigots. They want their votes.
Watch the disgraceful interaction below.
Kayleigh McEnany dances around a question from Fox News asking her to categorically condemn white supremacists. Very bizarre. pic.twitter.com/7xoyMHPTxa
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 1, 2020
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