Black sportswriter Jason Whitlock accused critics of President Donald Trump of "pointless virtue signaling" after many journalists expressed shock and outrage over how Trump answered a debate question about white supremacy in America.
During Tuesday night's debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked the president if he would condemn white supremacists and right-wing militia, to which the president responded "sure" and asked Wallace to identify whom he should condemn specifically. Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden suggested Trump condemn the "Proud Boys," and Trump said, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by."
CNN commentator Van Jones was apoplectic after the debate, saying Trump "gave a wink and a nod to a racist Nazi murderous organization."
Van Jones says Trump's failure to condemn white supremacy www.youtube.com
"Only three things happened for me tonight," Jones said. "Number one: Donald Trump refused to condemn white supremacy. Number two: The president of the United States refused to condemn white supremacy! Number three: The commander in chief refused to condemn white supremacy on the global stage in front of my children, in front of everybody's families, and he was given the opportunity multiple times to condemn white supremacy and he gave a wink and a nod to a racist Nazi murderous organization that is now celebrating online, that is now saying 'We have a go-ahead.'"
Whitlock said the outrage over what Trump said is "stupid and pointless." Responding to someone on Twitter who asked why Trump refused to condemn white supremacy, Whitlock said "because he's done it before and it doesn't matter." He called the question "clickbait."
Because he's done it before and it doesn't matter. It's a clickbait question asked for the benefit of Twitter. It's… https://t.co/AiIa40AZ1I— Jason Whitlock (@Jason Whitlock) 1601437260.0
"It's like kneeling for the national anthem. Pointless virtue signaling," Whitlock said.
The segment of the debate where Trump made his "stand back and stand by" comments dealt with the Black Lives Matter anti-police brutality protests in many American cities that have turned violent.
The group that Biden and Trump mentioned, the Proud Boys, was recently denied a permit to hold a demonstration in Portland because of coronavirus restrictions. The Proud Boys describe themselves as a "Western chauvinist" organization that list "anti-political correctness," "anti-racial guilt," and "anti-racism" among their tenets.
Trump said violence in U.S. cities was mostly instigated by left-wing agitators, not white supremacist groups.
"I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not from the right wing," Trump said.
After Wallace and Biden pressed Trump to condemn white supremacist groups, with Biden name-dropping the Proud Boys, Trump gave the answer that's headline news today.
"Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what somebody's got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right wing problem this is a left wing," Trump said.
"Antifa is a dangerous radical group," he added later after crosstalk with Biden.
"And you ought to be careful of them, they'll over throw you," Trump told Biden.