One of the issues that has been at the forefront in the country in the last few months is race and the topic came up for discussion during Tuesday night’s presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. When moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump specifically about whether or not he would be willing to denounce Antifa and other left-wing, political extremist movements and finally condemn his association with white supremacy by announcing that racist groups need to stand down and not incite further violence as has been seen in Kenosha, Wisconsin and Portland, Oregon, the president’s answer caught many by surprise.
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“I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace,” said Trump who then followed that statement with, “Proud Boys! Stand back and stand by” before then saying that someone has to do something about Antifa and acknowledging that it’s not his problem, its “a left-wing problem.”
Biden followed by saying that Antifa is “an idea not an organization,” before Wallace then moved the conversation forward. It was enough to get Twitter reacting with many saying that Trump’s inability to provide a hard and fast condemnation of the Proud Boys only further contributes to the notion that he embraces white supremacy and supports their anti-Muslim, misogynist, and racist ideologies and endeavors.
Even dictionary Merriam-Webster joined the backlash tweeting the definitions “stand down” and “stand by.”
Trump’s comment is of particular concern given he refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the presidential election when asked by a reporter earlier this week
"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," Trump said Wednesday.
Trump has also previously refused to say whether he would accept the election results and has joked about staying in office past two terms.