Conflicting Narratives on Whether Trump Has Condemned White Supremacy

Headline Roundup October 1st, 2020

Differing narratives have emerged on the president's attitudes toward white supremacy following his controversial response to a question about white supremacy at the presidential debate earlier this week. Some politicians and others on both the left and right say Trump's response to the question was a disturbing refusal to denounce right-wing extremism. Others say it's not as simple, and reference the president's past comments on the subject; following mass shootings in Ohio and Texas last year, Trump said "our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy." Thursday evening, Trump told Fox News' Sean Hannity, "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."

News coverage from many left- and some center-rated sources is more focused on Trump's debate answer, and the idea that it was dangerous and a concerning failure to denounce violent hate groups. Coverage from right-rated sources is focused on both the recent comment and Trump's past denouncements of white supremacy, and also on purported falsities being disseminated by sources who report on the president's alleged refusal to condemn white supremacy. Editor's Note: Updated 10/2/20 at 8:20 a.m. ET to include the president's comments from Thursday.

Conflicting Narratives on Whether Trump Has Condemned White Supremacy

From the Center

President Trump's hesitation, once again, to denounce white supremacy during Tuesday's presidential debate is drawing quick condemnation from anti-racism activists — as are his unusual comments directed at a white supremacist group called the Proud Boys.

During an exchange on the debate stage, moderator Chris Wallace repeatedly asked Trump if he would condemn white supremacists. Trump initially sidestepped that question, claiming that he mostly sees violence "from the left wing."

Trump eventually responded to Wallace's question by referring to a white supremacist group, saying, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand...

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From the Right

CLAIM: Debate moderator Chris Wallace implied that President Donald Trump never condemned white supremacists.

VERDICT: FALSE. President Trump has done so repeatedly, despite what Wallace — and Joe Biden — have suggested.

During the first presidential debate, Wallace challenged President Trump to condemn white supremacists. It was an astonishingly ill-informed — and inflammatory — challenge, and repeated a lie that Biden has told frequently in the campaign.

Trump has condemned white supremacists repeatedly.

As Breitbart News noted in a recent fact check:

ABC News fact-checked Biden, and noted — commendably...

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From the Left

The question Chris Wallace posed to President Donald Trump was direct.

“Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say they need to stand down?”

The president shrugged his left shoulder. “Sure, I’m willing to do that. But I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not from the right wing.” Trump continued to say words, and to say nothing. “I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.”

Wallace pressed the question. “Well, then, do it, sir.” Former Vice...

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