President Donald Trump was asked point-blank during Tuesday night's presidential debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden if he would denounce armed white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys and ask them to "stand down" in order to quell violent confrontations at racial justice rallies in U.S. cities, but instead of making a clear and straightforward condemnation, the president said such groups should "stand back and stand by"—a clearly different signal.
Trump's response to a question asking him to condemn white supremacist groups was to ask the Proud Boys to "stand by" https://t.co/r6MTkuhJFn
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 30, 2020
"Not even hiding the racism," said the Arabs for Bernie account on Twitter in response.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) put the exchange—including the ominous and revealing choice of words by the president—in stark terms:
Donald Trump is a white supremacist.
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People have been warning about this for a long time.
They were ridiculed, called hyperbolic & radical - not bc they were wrong, but bc others couldn’t accept that our country elected a supremacist as President.
This is fascism at our door. https://t.co/sahloCJt25
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 30, 2020
"Trump fans the flames of racism, embraces white supremacy, and employs state violence against Americans exercising their rights," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). "That's Donald Trump's America."