5 highlights from VP debate: Court packing, White House 'super spreader' and 'fine people' claim

White nationalists are met by a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville.
White nationalists are met by a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville. | REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Harris repeats ‘fine people’ claim

While talking about the topic of race relations in America, the California senator criticized President Trump for his response to a question in last week’s debate, saying that he “refused to condemn white supremacists.” 

“It wasn’t like he didn’t have a chance. He didn’t do it. And then he doubled down,” she said referring to the president’s remark telling the Proud Boys, which was named by Biden during the debate as a threat, to “stand down and stand by.” 

“And this is a part of a pattern of Donald Trump’s,” she said. 

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“He on the issue of Charlottesville, where people were peacefully protesting the need for racial justice, where a young woman was killed, and on the other side, there were neo-Nazis carrying Tiki torches, shouting racial epithets, anti-Semitic slurs, and Donald Trump when asked about it said, ‘There were fine people on both sides.’”

Biden has said that Trump’s comments on the 2017 Charlottesville violence were the inspiration for Biden launching his presidential campaign. 

The “fine people” claim has been repeated by many of Trump’s critics and many in the media to claim that Trump was calling neo-Nazis and white supremacists “fine people.” Biden brought up the remark last week during the presidential debate.

“I think this is one of the things that makes people dislike the media so much in this country, Susan, is that you selectively edit just like Senator Harris did, comments that President Trump and I and others on our side made,” Pence said. 

“I mean, Senator Harris conveniently admitted after the president made comments about people on either side of the debate over monuments.”

Pence assured that Trump has condemned the Klu Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and “has done so repeatedly.”

“You’re concerned that he doesn’t condemn neo-Nazis,” Pence told Harris. “President Trump has Jewish grandchildren. His daughter and son-in-law are Jewish. This is a president who respects and cherishes all of the American people.”

Last week, radio show host Annie Frey posted a Twitter thread listing 16 times since 2016 that Trump has publicly condemned white supremacy. In a 2016 Republican primary debate where Fox News host Chris Wallace asked the same question, Trump said: "I totally disavow the Klu Klux Klan, I totally disavow David Duke."

Again last Friday: "I've said it many times, and let me be clear again: I condemn the KKK. I condemn all white supremacists,” Trump told Fox News. “I condemn the Proud Boys. I don’t know much about the Proud Boys, almost nothing. But I condemn that." 

In April 2019, CNN’s Jake Tapper also said that Trump did not call neo-Nazis and white supremacists “very fine people” in the aftermath of the Charlottesville protests and violence three years ago.

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