Trump refuses to condemn white supremacists in wild debate: 'Stand back and stand by'

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We’re still waiting.

The worst presidential debate in American history is still ringing in our ears, and we’re still waiting for the president of the United States to do something as simple as condemn white supremacy, and he still hasn’t done it.

Not on stage. Not in a statement.

Not even in a tweet.

If you’re looking for a takeaway from what CNN’s Jake Tapper described as “ a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck,” look no further than President Trump’s big wet kiss on the lips to the groups that fan the flames of racial hatred in this country and keep America divided.

“Are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and groups to say they need to stand down and not add to the violence and number of the cities as we saw in Kenosha and in Portland,” asked Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who looked more like an inept wrestling referee than he did a debate moderator on Tuesday night as Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden went toe-to-toe on national TV.

“Proud Boys,” the president said in the heated exchange. “Stand back, and stand by.”

The only thing missing was a whistle.

That there was no follow-up question from Wallace was another crime entirely, but we can deal with that another time.

For now, we can wallow in the reality that the leader of the free world just gave a new sound-bite slogan to a far-right organization that admits only men as members and promotes and engages in political violence and hates everything that has to do with Muslims and immigration.

You can almost hear the champagne corks popping at the Proud Boys’ debate watch parties after Trump danced around the white supremacy questions and gave the group what amounted to a tacit pat on the back.

T-shirts and bumper stickers may already be cranking out, a credit I’m sure the president will take for creating more jobs.

Stand by for what? To clash with peaceful protesters at another Black Lives Matter rally?

Stand by for what? To help the president think of more racist drivel like “Pocahontas” and the “China virus?”

For those who don’t know, the Proud Boys aren’t some rap group or country-and-western ensemble that plays at the Trump’s pandemic-ignoring political rallies.

It is a hate group that regularly spouts white nationalist rhetoric and has appeared alongside other hate groups at extremist gatherings like the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the one that inspired Biden to run for president in the first place.

They could be dangerous, and the president just told them to go load their guns.



Leonard Greene is a columnist and reporter for the New York Daily News.


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