U.S. President Donald Trump and former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speak during the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the first of three planned debates between the two candidates in the lead up to the election on November 3. Trump struggled to denounce white supremacy.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has accused President Donald Trump of failing to disavow white supremacy following the president’s comments during their first presidential debate.
The moderator, Fox News’ Chris Wallace, asked Trump to condemn white supremacists, but instead the president pivoted to Antifa and spoke directly to far-right group the Proud Boys.
Biden’s Twitter account shared a video on Wednesday morning featuring footage of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a woman was killed when a white nationalist drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters.
Trump Struggles To Condemn White Supremacy During 2020 First Presidential Debate
The president caused major controversy at the time for saying there were “very fine people, on both sides.” Biden’s video also showed Trump’s comments from last night.
“There’s no other way to put it: the President of the United States refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage last night,” Biden said.
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump said at the debate. “But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s gotta do something about Antifa and the left. This is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem.”
“His own FBI Director said unlike white supremacists, Antifa is an idea not an organization,” Biden replied. “That is his FBI Director.”
Trump said FBI Director Chris Wray was wrong as Wallace tried to move on.
Biden has previously said the events at Charlottesville are what convinced him to enter the presidential race. He spoke to supporters at an August fundraiser about the white nationalists who attended the rally and carried lit tiki torches. They also appeared in the video released Wednesday.
“When those folks came out of the fields carrying those torches, chanting the anti-Semitic bile and their veins bulging, accompanied by the Ku Klux Klan, with such ugliness,” Biden said at the virtual event, which was timed to precede the Jewish new year.
“I never thought I’d see something like that again in my life. That’s when I decided,” Biden said. “Together we can stamp out bigotry and anti-Semitism.”
Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, was also critical of Trump’s comments on Charlottesville in 2017. On Tuesday, she accused the president of fanning the flames of racism.
“Trump has inflamed the racial divides in our country these past four years. But getting Trump out of office won’t be enough,” Harris tweeted. “@JoeBiden and I have a plan to root out systemic racism across our laws and institutions—in everything from policing to housing.