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CNB News – Congressional Democrats tore into President Trump after Tuesday’s presidential debate where he refused to condemn white supremacists.

The president was asked by moderator Chris Wallace whether he would “condemn white supremacists and militia groups” who have been cited by local officials around the country as contributing to violence at protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Trump initially responded, “sure,” and “I’m willing to do that,” but then alleged that members of far-left groups were responsible for violent protests.

“What do you want me to call them?” Trump asked Wallace, before Biden interjected “the Proud Boys,” referring to the organization characterized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump responded.

Democrats seized on the exchange.

“President Trump was asked to condemn white supremacy. He refused,” tweeted Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). “He told white supremacists to ‘stand back and stand by.’ President Trump is a national disgrace, and Americans will not stand for it.”

 

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) went further, tweeting: “Donald Trump won’t condemn white supremacists because he is one.”

“Donald Trump is a white supremacist,” added Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in a Twitter post. “People have been warning about this for a long time. They were ridiculed, called hyperbolic & radical – not bc they were wrong, but bc others couldn’t accept that our country elected a supremacist as President. This is fascism at our door.”

 

The president has frequently faced criticism over his handling of racial issues, which exploded in August 2017 after a rally in Charlottesville, Va., became a meeting point for white nationalist groups. The event devolved into violence, with one counter protester killed after a crowd of pedestrians was targeted in a vehicle attack.

After the event, Trump drew widespread criticism for saying “very fine people, on both sides,” attended the rally.

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