Trump Refuses To Condemn White Supremacists, Proud Boys Celebrate After He Says They Should “Stand By”

The New York Times reports:

Members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group that has endorsed violence, celebrated on Tuesday night after President Trump mentioned them during the first presidential debate.

Asked whether he condemned white supremacists and military groups, Mr. Trump demurred and then said, “Proud Boys — stand back and stand by.” Within minutes, members of the group were posting in private social media channels, calling the president’s comments “historic.”

In one channel dedicated to the Proud Boys on Telegram, a private messaging app, group members called the president’s comment a tacit endorsement of their violent tactics. In another message, a member commented that the group was already seeing a spike in “new recruits.”

NBC News reports:

Trump was asked by debate moderator Chris Wallace to disavow white supremacy during a part of the debate focused on race. Wallace asked whether Trump would urge white supremacist groups that inflamed violence at nationwide protests to “stand down.”

Trump said to “give me a name” when asked to denounce a specific group, and former Vice President Joe Biden called out the Proud Boys. But Trump did not denounce any far-right or white supremacist groups, and he then pivoted to talk about antifa.

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem,” Trump said.