White House says there isn't 'anything to clarify' when asked about Trump's 'stand by' comments to Proud Boys

insider@insider.com (Jake Lahut)
·2 min read
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Fox News host Sandra Smith and White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah on Wednesday.
  • The White House is making no effort to spin or clear up President Donald Trump's comments on the Proud Boys during Tuesday night's debate.

  • In an interview on Fox News, White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah was pressed by host Sandra Smith on what Trump meant by "stand by."

  • "I don't think that there's anything to clarify," Farah said.

  • Shortly after Trump said, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by," the far-right extremist group began using the remark as a recruiting tool.

  • Later in the day, Trump said, "I don't know who the Proud Boys are." He added that he wanted them "to stand down and let law enforcement do their work."

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Despite substantial blowback and calls from Republicans for President Donald Trump to clear up his comments on the Proud Boys hate group during Tuesday night's debate, the White House had nothing to add about his comments.

Fox News host Sandra Smith pressed White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah on the issue Wednesday.

"The president saying, 'Proud Boys, stand back and stand by' — does the White House or the president want to clarify or explain what he meant by that?" Smith asked. "Because they're celebrating it, the group."

"I don't think there's anything to clarify," Farah replied. "He's told them to stand back."

She added: "This president has surged federal resources when violent crime warrants it in cities. He is leading. He doesn't need any sort of vigilantism."

Farah then pivoted to blaming Democrats and the left for violence in cities by not accepting the president's calls for federal law enforcement to go in and use more force than local officials.

"What we've called for is Democrat mayors and Democrat governors to call up the resources we're prepared to make available," she said.

Meanwhile, Kate Bedingfield, the communications director for former Vice President Joe Biden, told a Daily Beast reporter that Trump squandered "multiple opportunities to say he disowns white supremacy."

After the group was thrust into the national spotlight, the Proud Boys seized Trump's remarks to begin a recruitment drive

The president took questions from the press later on Wednesday but would not say he condemned white supremacists or the Proud Boys.

"I don't know who the Proud Boys are," Trump said, adding, "They have to stand down and let law enforcement do their work."

This article has been updated.

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