Home #FocusFocus Democracy 2020 #FOCUSDEMOCRACY: ‘Stand Back and Stand By’: Trump’s Response to White Supremacy

#FOCUSDEMOCRACY: ‘Stand Back and Stand By’: Trump’s Response to White Supremacy

by Sharif Hasan

President Donald Trump was asked to respond to the violent white nationalist rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 12, 2017. This should have been a simple request for the leader of our great nation. Any competent president would denounce these neo-Nazis and tell the American people that we cannot tolerate this racist ideology.

So why didn’t he? Because that would have been a lie for Trump.

Instead of condemning them, Trump decided to point out how there were, “fine people on both sides.”

This was more than three years ago and it’s apparent our president has not learned a single thing since.

During the first presidential debate on Sept. 29, Trump was asked repeatedly by moderator Chris Wallace to condemn white supremacists and other groups.

The president, unsure of which groups Wallace was referring to, asked Wallace to give him a name. Former Vice President Joe Biden suggested the “Proud Boys,” a far-right hate organization, as one group that the president should publicly condemn.

Trump has had practice with this before, so it should have been an easy one, but just like his response to Charlottesville, the president refused to do the right thing.

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by! But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left,” Trump said.

After facing criticism for not condemning the Proud Boys, a reporter asked Trump to clarify his remarks the following day.

“I don’t know who the Proud Boys are. I mean, you’ll have to give me a definition because I don’t really know who they are. I can only say they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work,” Trump said.

The president continued to say he always denounced white supremacy and then pushed the blame to Joe Biden, urging him to denounce Antifa.

Now to some, this might seem like the perfect condemnation of the group, but it is highly unlikely that Trump does not know who the Proud Boys are. The FBI identifies the Proud Boys as an extremist hate group and many of them are even frequent attendees of the president’s rallies.

So even after being spoon-fed information about the Proud Boys, Trump still did not explicitly denounce them.

The Montclarion Staff

The Montclarion Staff

I guess the president is “zero for two” in terms of condemning racist hate groups. I am sure he will figure it out next time.

That’s the thing with this election. We cannot afford there to be a next time.

I have heard countless reasons why people do not want to vote for either one of these candidates. Now, although I agree that Biden is not the perfect candidate, it comes down to him not being Trump. That is what really solidifies my vote.

It is Trump’s dangerous rhetoric that puts minorities at risk.

Let’s take the president’s favorite North American country as an example. Trump has called Mexican immigrants “rapists,” repeatedly tweeted and preached about an “invasion” at the southern border and has said that Mexico “abuses” the United States.

On Aug. 3, 2019, a white man drove 11 hours to El Paso, Texas, killing 23 people and injuring another 23, specifically targeting Hispanics.

In his manifesto, as white terrorists love manifestos, he shared his racist and anti-immigrant beliefs, echoing the words of our president.

More recently, Trump has reacted to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests by not calling for an end to police brutality. Again, that would be way too simple for him. Instead, he referred to himself as the “president of law and order,” called protesters “thugs” and went on Twitter to say, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

On Aug. 25, Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year old from Antioch, Illinois, traveled across state borders to seek vigilante justice at a BLM protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I wonder what prompted him to bear arms, join a violent caravan and shoot three people. It is almost as if the looting started and then the shooting started. It sure is crazy how he thought of all that on his own.

In the past four years, Trump has attacked Muslims, the disabled, journalists, democrats, Asians and many others. I know we tend to brush these remarks off and say, “well, that’s just Trump for you,” but as he has proved to us before, his words hold weight to those who actually listen to him.

I agree that choosing the lesser of two evils should not be the way for Americans to vote in an election, but what the greater of the two evils has shown us, time and time again, is that he will not only refuse to condemn the violence of white supremacists, but he will encourage it. It is therefore our duty to make sure he is no longer in office.

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