U.S. President Donald Trump refused to directly condemn white supremacists during the first U.S. presidential debate Tuesday evening.
Fox News journalist and debate moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he would condemn white supremacists during a segment focusing on race tensions in the U.S.
“Are you 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 as we’ve seen in Portland?” Wallace asked.
Replying to the question, Trump said, “sure.”
Biden can be heard saying “say it, do it” in the background.
“I’m willing to do that,” the U.S. president said. “But I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not the right wing.”
“I’m willing to do anything,” he continued, “I want peace.”
However, when Wallace pressed Trump to directly condemn white supremacists, the president only named the Proud Boys, a far-right group.
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” he said, before shifting his focus to Antifa.
Trump’s comments come after the United States has seen months of protests over racial injustice across the country, sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Floyd, a Black man, died on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest.
The protests over Floyd’s death often descended into chaos in several cities across the U.S., with police and protesters clashing.
Trump has repeatedly claimed Antifa — a broad movement with left-leaning ideologies — is responsible for the violence taking place during the Black Lives Matter protests.
During the debate, Trump called Antifa a “dangerous radical group.”
Earlier during the debate, Biden said Trump attempts to make everything into a racial “dog whistle,” adding that the Republican president has “done virtually nothing” for Black Americans during his tenure.
Biden said one in 1,000 Black Americans have died because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, adding if Trump doesn’t “do something quickly,” that number will increase to one in 500.
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