Oct 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

McMaster: Condemning white supremacists should have been "a layup" for Trump

mcmaster
McMaster. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Former Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster in an interview with The Atlantic lamented that President Trump would not condemn white supremacy at Tuesday's debate, calling it a "missed opportunity" and affirming that white supremacist groups pose a threat to national security.

Catch up quick: Trump was asked at the first presidential debate to condemn white supremacy, but instead told the far-right group Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by." The president has since partially tried walking back his comments, telling reporters that he doesn't know who the Proud Boys are.

  • McMaster left his role in 2018 after approximately a year on the job. He's remained one of the most neutral ex-Trump administration officials, relative to the scores of defectors who have criticized the president since leaving their roles.

What they're saying: McMaster argued, "To use a sports analogy, condemning white supremacists should be a layup for any leader. "

  • "What we’re undervaluing these days is the importance of bringing Americans back together to reinforce our common identity."

The retired Army general added that Trump's refusal to condemn white supremacism "gives space to these groups that foment hatred and intolerance."

  • "And whenever you have a group at one end of the spectrum who define themselves in a particular way, you tend to get an equal and opposite reaction on the other end of the spectrum. ... Our leaders should give voice to those of us who reject extremists and intolerance."
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