Even though Trump has spoken against white supremacy at several occasions, he has also failed to condemn white supremacy on some.
In 2017, a rally in Charlottesville turned violent when a man with a history of making racist comments ran his car into a group of counterprotesters. One person, Heather Heyer, was killed, and many others were left injured. On the day when Trump made his statement, he was widely criticized for saying there were “very fine people on both sides” of clashes between neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and pro-Confederate monument demonstrators and anti-racist counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Many people questioned what “both sides” meant. Trump clarified his position later on Aug. 15, where he said, “You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.” He added, “I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups, but not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”
On Aug. 14, 2017, Trump issued a statement where he referred to “KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
After nearly two dozen people were killed on Aug. 3, 2019, in a shooting at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Trump said: “The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul. We have asked the FBI to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism — whatever they need.”
While these statements show Trump condemning white supremacy, he has also failed to do so on separate occasions. In Feb. 2016, while running for President, Trump refused to condemn the prominent white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who endorsed him, reported the NPR. In Mar. 2016, Trump retweeted a Twitter account called WhiteGenocideTM, which had previously posted racist material, noted the BBC.
On Sept. 29, during the first presidential debate, US President Donald Trump said that he had never heard of the violent rightwing group, Proud Boys, when asked about the group. When he was urged to condemn white supremacists, he asked the group to “stand by.” He did not explicitly condemn white supremacy.
Subsequently, on Oct. 1, the President condemned “all White supremacists” after pointedly refusing to do so since the debate. Speaking to Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Trump said, “I condemn the KKK, I condemn all White supremacists, I condemn the Proud Boys. I don’t know much about the Proud Boys, almost nothing, but I condemn that.”