President Donald Trump condemned "all White supremacists" on Thursday night during an appearance on Fox News. Trump came under fire for his response to a question about his White supremacist supporters at the presidential debate on Tuesday night. While he answered more firmly on Thursday, some critics say it is too little, too late.
"I condemn the KKK, I condemn all White supremacists, I condemn the Proud Boys," Trump told Fox News' Sean Hannity. He added: "I don't know much about the Proud Boys, almost nothing, but I condemn that," despite indications to the contrary. During Trump's presidency, the FBI has classified the Proud Boys as a White Nationalist extremist group. They have been responsible for acts of violence at protests across the country while openly supporting Trump.
While he finally condemned these groups in his interview with Hannity, Trump wasted no time in getting back to the topic of alleged violence from "AntiFa" and other "far-left" organizations, which he believes is more prevalent. Trump has repeatedly tried to blame violence around the country on "AntiFa" — or, anti-fascists — over the last few months, insisting that these groups are more organized than the evidence shows that they are.
Trump's own FBI director, Christopher A. Wray, has said that White supremacist groups are the greater threat to security in the U.S., but the president has contradicted him at every turn. Even in the debate on Tuesday, Trump evaded this issue. When asked to condemn White supremacists, Trump acted as if he did not know of any, saying: "who would you like me to condemn. When moderator Chris Wallace asked him to tell the "Proud Boys" to "stand down," Trump dodged this wording.
"Proud Boys — stand back and stand by, but I'll tell you what. I'll tell you what," he said. "Somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem."
Critics have also noted that this hesitance to condemn White supremacists is not new for Trump. Even before taking office, Trump initially avoided denouncing former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, who endorsed his 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump is now hospitalized at Walter Reed Military Medical Center with a case of COVID-19. On Saturday morning, his doctors gave a press conference, claiming that his condition is improving and that he continues to work from inside his hospital room. There is no word yet on when he may be discharged.