WASHINGTON (AP) — Portland and the ongoing protests came up several times during the first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic contender Joe Biden, during which the president did not directly condemn white supremacists and paramilitary groups.
President Donald Trump danced around a question from moderator Chris Wallace about whether he was willing to condemn white supremacists and military groups.
“I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not the right wing,” Trump responded. “I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.”
When pressed further, Trump said, “What do you want to call them? Give me a name. Give me a name?”
Finally, he said, “Proud Boys — Stand back, stand by, but I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not right-wing problem….. This is a left wing problem.”
Antifa followers have appeared at anti-racism protests, but there’s been little evidence behind Republican claims that antifa members are to blame for the violence at such protests.
Trump infamously said there were good people “on both sides” after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to the death of a counterprotester.
Additionally, Trump and Biden touched on Portland and the protests happening in the city. Trump said the “Portland sheriff” supports him. While the city of Portland doesn’t have a sheriff, KOIN 6 News reached out to Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese about Trump’s statement and received this response from Reese: “NO.”
Reese tweeted, “In tonight’s presidential debate the President said the ‘Portland Sheriff’ support him. As the Multnomah County Sheriff I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him.”
KOIN 6 News contributed to this story.