After the chaos in the TV debate, Donald Trump has come under fire after summoning a far-right group. Now the US president is rowing back, claiming not to know the group at all.

US President Donald Trump has withdrawn after his hotly criticized call for a right-wing radical group to “stand by”. At the same time, he claimed he did not know the violent group Proud Boys, whom he had mentioned by name the night before in the TV debate with his election challenger Joe Biden.

“I don’t know who the Proud Boys are,” Trump said in the garden of the White House. “Whoever you are, you have to step back and let the police do their job.”

Extremely chaotic TV duel

Meanwhile, the committee responsible for organizing the presidential debates announced that the rules would be tightened after the chaotic Trump-Biden duel. “Last night’s debate made it clear that additional structure needs to be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues,” the Commission said on Wednesday. “Additional instruments are planned to maintain order”.

The rule changes would soon be “carefully” scrutinized and announced, the committee said. The next TV debate between Trump and Biden is scheduled for October 15. Citizens must be able to ask questions to the candidates.

The first TV duel between Trump and his challenger to the opposition Democrats was extremely chaotic. The president continued to interrupt Biden on Tuesday evening with unrest. The former vice president responded with sharp counterattacks, once calling on the incumbent to “shut up”. Moderator Chris Wallace did not bring order to the debate.

Trump does not distance himself from racist groups

Observers responded sharply to the drama. The Washington Post newspaper called it the “worst presidential debate in living memory.” The news channel CNN spoke of a “debacle”. Biden called his rival’s behavior a “national disgrace” on Wednesday.

Donald Trump in the TV duel: disturb, mob, provoke. (Source: Julio Cortez / AP / dpa)

Trump caused a stir and outrage during the debate with a direct appeal to the right-wing radical group Proud Boys: “Proud Boys – hold back and be ready.” The right-wing populist left open what the group should be ‘ready’ for. Moderator Wallace had previously asked Trump if he was willing to distance himself clearly from racist groups, which the president did not.

When asked about the statements the day after the debate, Trump assured, “I don’t know who the Proud Boys are.” He added, “You have to step back and let the police do their job.” The words spoken on Tuesday evening (“stand back and stand by”) are very similar in English to the phrase Trump used on Wednesday (“stand down”).

“Condemned Every Form”

In the margins of anti-racism protests in recent months, there have been repeated violent clashes between protesters and the police – and violent clashes between right-wing groups and left-wing activists, including those from the anti-fascist anti-fascist movement.

Trump has repeatedly refused to distance himself from racist groups in recent years. On Wednesday, the right-wing populist president said in response to a journalist’s question that he had always “condemned any form of it.” He then immediately criticized the Antifa, which he had regularly blamed for violence on the fringes of the Black Lives Matter protests in recent months.

Critics accuse Trump of deliberately fueling tensions in the country ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election. Observers warn of possible violence by right-wing militias if the incumbent party loses elections and does not recognize defeat. In polls, Trump has been behind Biden for months.

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