Just hours before President Donald Trump announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for coronavirus, his last live public statement was telling Sean Hannity explicitly that he condemns the Proud Boys, the Ku Klux Klan and all white supremacists.
Trump made news when he failed to explicitly condemn the groups at Tuesday’s debate with former Vice President Joe Biden. Instead, Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” which many — including the Proud Boys themselves — took as an endorsement or order, rather than a condemnation.
Here’s what you need to know:
Trump Did a Friendly Interview With Fox News’ Sean Hannity & Said He Condemns the Proud Boys & ‘All White Supremacists’
Trump sat for a 20-minute live interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, a supporter of the president, at 9 p.m. Thursday. At 10:44 p.m., Trump announced that adviser Hope Hicks had tested positive for coronavirus, and about two hours later, Trump broke the news that he and the first lady were also positive.
At the interview’s outset, Trump said he wanted to clear up the white supremacy issue. At the debate, Trump said, “I made a statement that, according to most, was a perfect statement.”
“But I’ve said it so many times even beyond that,” Trump continued. “No matter what you say, they’ll just keep going, going, going. You know, Biden did the 1994 crime bill. That’s the super predator bill, so he did the super predator bill when you look at it. But … no matter what you say it won’t make any difference.”
Trump was referring to a crime crackdown bill partially authored by Biden in 1994, which led to an increase in mass incarceration. The “super predator” quote is actually attributed to Hillary Clinton, however, not Biden.
“I have to say I’ve said it so many times, but let me be clear,” Trump continued. “I condemn the [Ku Klux Klan]. I condemn all white supremacists. I condemn the Proud Boys. I don’t know much about the Proud Boys, but I condemn that.”
Trump Also Said That Biden Should Condemn Antifa, Which He Called a ‘Horrible Group of People’
Trump did not stop after explicitly condemning the Proud Boys and white supremacists, following intense bipartisan political pressure, however. He also insisted that Biden condemn antifa.
“But he should condemn also antifa,” Trump said. “Antifa is a horrible group of people. They kill people, what they do to people, they’re causing insurrection. They’re causing riots. But he doesn’t want to do that.”
At a congressional hearing in mid-September, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that antifa is not an organization, let alone a terrorist organization, despite Trump’s promise to designate the ideology, along with the KKK, as a terrorist organization. Wray testified that white supremacist-aligned groups are the greatest domestic threat to homeland security. “It’s not a group or an organization. It’s a movement or an ideology,” the Associated Press reported.
White House physician Sean Conley most recently announced that the Trumps were well, and that the president would continue to discharge his duties from quarantine.
Friday morning, The New York Times reported that Trump was seen with mild, cold-like symptoms the day before, appearing lethargic at a fundraising event.