Trump condemns KKK, white supremacists, Proud Boys

President Donald J. Trump disembarks Marine One at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, and is escorted to Air Force One by U.S. Air Force personnel.
President Donald J. Trump disembarks Marine One at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, and is escorted to Air Force One by U.S. Air Force personnel. | White House/Tia Dufour

Days after being criticized for not clearly denouncing white supremacists in the controversial far-right Proud Boys group, President Donald Trump condemned them on Thursday.

"I've said it many times, and let me be clear again: I condemn the KKK. I condemn all white supremacists. I condemn the Proud Boys. I don’t know much about the Proud Boys, almost nothing. But I condemn that," Trump said on Sean Hannity's Fox News show.

“If I say it a hundred times it won’t be enough because it’s fake news,” he said, noting that he has condemned white supremacists in the past for years.

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Trump has denounced the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists on several previous occasions, including in 2017, after a self-identified white supremacist drove his car into counter-protesters, killing one and injuring others, at a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Since Tuesday, Trump has been under fire for failing to clearly denounce white supremacists during his first presidential debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Moderator and "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace asked the president if he was "willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha and we've seen in Portland?"

President Trump replied "sure" he was "willing to do that," but noted that "almost everything I see is from the left-wing."

Biden then mentioned the Proud Boys, which led to perhaps the most discussed line from Trump during the debate.

"The Proud Boys," Trump said. "Stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about Antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem."

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler called the president’s response to the question on white supremacy his “lowest moment” during the debate and said it was a “failed opportunity.”

“The lowest moment for the incumbent president, Donald Trump, was when he did not give a clear answer when it came to the threat from the political right, from white supremacists and others in the United States. When called to condemn them, the President didn't exactly not answer the question, but he did answer the question in such a way that it was not very specific or comprehensive. I would score that as a failed opportunity,” Mohler noted on his podcast, The Briefing.

SBC President J.D. Greear said on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that white supremacy is as a “scheme of the devil” and everyone should be ready to condemn it when asked to do so.

“When asked to condemn white supremacy, every single one of us should be ready to do so. Racism is, sadly, not extinct, and we know from our Southern Baptist history the effects of the horrific sins of racism and hatred,” Greear said.

“We denounce and repudiate white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as a scheme of the devil intended to bring suffering and division to our society. We re-affirm what Southern Baptists said to this in 2017,” he adding, noting that his statement was endorsed by several senior officers in the world’s largest Baptist denomination.

Enrique Tarrio, the Afro-Cuban international chairman of the Proud Boys group of men who say they love America but hate political correctness, also publicly denounced racism and white supremacy after detractors began conflating them with white supremacists in the wake of the first presidential debate.

“OK, so I’m going to say it to you. I’m going to give you the skinny. I’m going to give it to you straight. I denounce white supremacy. I denounce anti-Semitism. I denounce racism. I denounce fascism. I denounce communism and any other -ism that is prejudice towards people because of their race, religion, culture, tone of skin,” Tarrio said in an interview with WSVN Wednesday.

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