Christian Leaders React to Trump’s Refusal to Condemn White Supremacy

On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump squared off against Joe Biden for what pretty much everyone agreed was an exceedingly unpleasant evening. Trump’s belligerent attitude and refusal to let Biden get a word in edgewise grated his opponent, moderator Chris Wallace and even many of his supporters. George Stephanopoulos called it the worst debate he’d ever seen. “The American people lost tonight,” Jake Tapper agreed. “Because that was horrific.” Even Hillsong Church expressed exasperation, via a mistakenly posted (and quickly deleted) tweet.

Lows abounded but one stuck out: Trump refused, once again, to unequivocally condemn white supremacy. Wallace put it to Trump directly: “Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say they need to stand down?”

Trump shrugged. “Sure, I’m willing to do that,” he said. And he could have done so then and there but instead, he went on: “But I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not from the right wing. I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.”

So Wallace pushed: “Well, then, do it, sir.”

“What do you want to call them?” Trump asked. “Give me a name, give me a name.”

Wallace told him “white supremacists.” Biden chimed in with “Proud Boys” — the aggressively misogynistic far-right group accused of inciting violence at rallies.

“Proud Boys, stand back, and stand by,” Trump said. (The Proud Boys got the message loud and clear.)

This is not a flub or even, as Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler characterized it, a “failed opportunity.” It is part of a long and well-documented pattern of Trump hemming and hawing over his white supremacists supporters. It’s not like Trump is bashful about denouncing others. But whether referring to “fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville or feigning ignorance around the KKK’s endorsement of his candidacy, Trump’s permissive attitude towards white supremacists has been a defining marker of his time in the political arena.

While many white evangelical leaders have continued to support Trump throughout all this, many Christians took to Twitter to condemn Trump’s words.

 

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