The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has once again provoked resentment with his comments on the far right in the presidential election debate held last night in Finnish time.
The issue was raised in the section on “Race and Violence in U.S. Cities” of the debate. Moderator Chris Wallace Trump began by pointing out that Trump has repeatedly criticized his opponent Joe Biden for not condemning the anti-fascist Antifa or other “far-left groups”.
– But are you willing to condemn supporters of white supremacy and paramilitary organizations tonight and say that they must retreat and not increase violence, as has been seen in Kenosha and Portland? Wallace addressed his question to Trump, referring to the violent unrest in the country.
Trump began his response by saying that he would certainly be willing to do the things requested, but continued:
– I would say almost everything [väkivalta], what I see comes from the left, not the right. I am willing to do no matter what, I want to see peace.
– Then do it, Wallace urged.
– Do it! Say it! Biden also incited from the sidelines.
After this, Trump fell silent briefly and looked confused for a fleeting moment.
– Why do you want to invite them? Give me a name, Trump stumbled.
The name Proud Boys, repeated by Biden, stood out from the ensuing three-man scream. It is a far-right and neo-fascist U.S. organization that accepts only men as members. The organization has made a nest distinction with supporters of white supremacy in its official comments, but the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, for example, have defined it as an anti-Islamic and misogynistic group of hatred whose several members have been convicted of violent crimes. The Proud Boys themselves have called themselves a “Western chauvinist organization”.
Despite this, Trump’s reaction to the name offered was somewhat ambiguous.
– Proud Boys: Back off and stay ready [stand back and stand by], the president declared and reiterated that “someone should do something for Antifa and the left”.
– This is not a right-wing problem, this is a left-wing problem, Trump repeated.
Biden responded by referring to the FBI chief of the Central Criminal Police appointed by Trump Christopher Wrayn to the comment that Antifa is “an ideology rather than an organized movement”. However, the debate on the subject pushed me into it.
Among other things Washington Post points out that, in recent years, researchers of extremism and terrorism have repeatedly identified supporters of white supremacy and the far right as a looser organized Antifa.
“Could be interpreted as an order”
Visiting researcher at the Foreign Policy Institute Maria Annalan according to Trump, the speech to the far right was the most dramatic moment of the debate, in addition to Trump refusing to commit to respecting the election result.
– Trump refused to condemn supporters of white supremacy and resign from these movements. Instead, he said “stand back and stand by,” which could be interpreted as giving them an order that you may still be needed, as he was talking right after the election fraud, and that the election will be a disaster, Annala tells Iltalehti.
– To my ear it sounded like “stay vigilant, I might still order you to act if I don’t win this election otherwise”.
In addition, Annala points out that Trump refused to even ask his supporters to refrain from violence and not to take to the streets to riot.
The organization got excited
Trump’s ambiguous statement immediately sparked criticism in the American media as well, but the Proud Boys themselves seem enthusiastic about the throw.
Immediately after the debate, the organization published an image of its logo on its social media Telegram service, surrounded by a stylized slogan “stand back and stand by”.
Biden also shared a New York Times reporter on Twitter tweet, which shows the enthusiastic comments written by members of Proud Boys.
– Trump practically said go go and destroy them! This makes me so happy, one member writes in a screenshot attached to the tweet.
– President Trump told me to stay ready, because someone has to take care of Antifa … Listen, sir, we’re ready!
Among other things, he is the director of SITE, which oversees the online activities of U.S. extremist organizations Rita Katz indeed, the president’s comment was firmly grasped.
– At a time when far-right violence and racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia have increased significantly, Trump once again made a new concession to supporters of white supremacy, who now call it “advertising”. [shoutout], Katz tweet.
– He legitimized them in a way that no one in the community could have expected.
This was not the first time Trump had had difficulty in directly condemning far-right perpetrators. A former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, who resigned in the spring, said earlier in September NPR: lle The White House deliberately avoided the use of the term “domestic terrorism” when talking about supporters of white supremacy.
In 2017, Trump said “there were very nice people on both sides” in a demonstration in Charlottesville, where a far-right man drove into a crowd of protesters, killing one of them. In 2016, as a presidential candidate, Trump refused to condemn the Ku Klux Klan or its former leader David Duke In an interview with CNN.
A spokesman for Trump’s election campaign says Fox Newsin in an interview that the president has “repeatedly condemned” supporters of white supremacy, including twice during the last debate. In the interview, he does not take a direct position on the President’s Proud Boys comment, but criticizes the media’s constant curiosity about the subject.