Dems send letter to Trump demanding he disavow comments on White supremacists on national TV
EXCLUSIVE: A coalition of House Democrats chided the president after telling a white militia group to 'stand back and stand by.'
The letter, exclusively shared wih theGrio and signed by Rep. Karen Bass, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Reps. Joaquin Castro, Bradley S. Schneider, Judy Chu, Earl Blumenauer, Brenda Lawrence, Danny K. Davis, Sharice L. Davids, Deb Haaland and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, condemned the president for refusing to denounce White supremacy and telling Proud Boys, a known hate group, to “stand back and stand by.”
“Chris Wallace asked you a simple question during the first Presidential debate for the 2020 Election … ” the letter reads, “Instead of an emphatic condemnation, you went out of your way and gave heart to a known white supremacist militia group.”
As previously reported by theGrio, Trump’s message to Proud Boys was met with adoration as the group updated their Telegram social media page to say, “Standing down and standing by sir.” Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs posted to social media after the debate in support of Trump’s instructions and said he was “standing by,” and displayed excitement that the president “basically said to go f— them up.”
“President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA… well sir! we’re ready!!” he wrote.
The letter to Trump from House Dems chided the president over his “repeated failure to definitively and consistently renounce white nationalism in our country, not only during the debate but throughout the entirety of your presidency, has given life and voice to the darkest corners of our society.”
What’s more, the group of House members pointed out that Trump’s own FBI director, Christopher Wray, warned that the top domestic national security threat Americans face is from domestic violent extremists, adding “and within this group the greatest risk stems from those identified as racially/ethnically motivated extremists.”
At the end of the letter, the ten Democrats demanded that President Trump “immediately” disavow his comments made on the debate stage and do it on national television.
“For the first time, emphatically condemn white supremacism and violent extremist groups of all kinds, including but not limited to the Proud Boys, Boogaloos, and the Rise Above Movement,” the letter continued. “Without a formal condemnation, the American people are left to assume your intention is to tacitly support white nationalism and sew greater division, which will only incite more violence and discord throughout our country.
We look forward to your immediate attention to this matter,” it added.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also took aim at Trump over his comments on White supremacy in a new campaign add titled Condemn. The ad plays a clip of Trump’s statements on Tuesday night and then goes to a flashback of Trump’s infamous 2017 remarks in which he appeared to defend hundreds of neo-Nazis and White supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia who violently protested, and ultimately killed Black Lives Matter protester Heather Heyer.
“But you also had people who were very fine people on both sides,” Trump said at the time.
Trump’s refusal to condemn White supremacists at the debate was quickly rebuked on Wednesday by Democrats and TV pundits. It was also slightly criticized by Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell, who called it “unacceptable,” and less forcefully by Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the U.S. Senate, who suggested that Trump possibly “misspoke” and called for him to “correct it.”
When asked again by reporters to disavow White supremacy on Wednesday, Trump again failed to call out “White supremacy” — instead only saying “I’ve always denounced — any form, any form, any form of any of that — you have to denounce.” The White House later said the president had nothing to “clarify,” according to ABC News.
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