President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the Proud Boys – an organization classified as a racist group – should “leave” and let law enforcement take the lead.
“I don’t know who the Proud Boys are,” the president told reporters at the White House before leaving for his campaign event. “They have to leave. Let the law enforcement agencies do their job. “
During a debate with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday, Trump was asked if he was prepared to condemn “white supremacists and armed groups” and tell them to step down amid the violence that darkens anti-racist protests in some US cities.
Trump asked what the specific name of such a group was, and Biden mentioned Proud Boys, an organization that calls itself “Western chauvinists.” However, the Southern Rule of Law Center, a nonprofit organization that monitors the activities of white nationalists and racists, classifies Proud Boys as a racial hate group.
At that moment, the President turned to the Proud Boys with a request to “step back and be on the lookout,” which was taken by many observers as a sign of support for this group.
South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott, who is African American, expressed the opinion that Trump made a slip and urged him to correct his words.
When asked Wednesday about his condemnation of white supremacist groups, the White House chief said he has always condemned the activities of such groups.
Trump’s critics believe the president has made statements in support of racist groups on several occasions. In 2017, he said that “both sides” were to blame for the violence that unfolded on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, where clashes between white supremacists and their opponents took place, resulting in the death of one of the participants.
In parallel, Trump, in turn, called on Biden to condemn the activists of Antifa, an ultra-left movement whose followers declare their opposition to racists and often engage in clashes with the ultra-right. Biden said to this that “Antifa” is “an idea, not an organization.”