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Asked to condemn white supremacist violence at the first presidential debate on Tuesday, President Trump said the far-right Proud Boys group should "stand back and stand by," before immediately arguing that violence in the U.S. "is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem."

Why it matters: Trump has repeatedly been accused of failing to condemn white nationalism and right-wing violence, despite the FBI's assessment that it's the most significant domestic terrorism threat that the country faces. The president has frequently associated antifa and the left-wing violence that has afflicted some U.S. cities with Biden, despite his condemnation of violent protests.

The exchange:

WALLACE: "Are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha and as we've seen in Portland?" 
TRUMP: "Sure. I'm willing to do that."
WALLACE: "Go ahead, sir."
TRUMP: "I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing. Not from the right wing."
WALLACE: "What are you saying?"
TRUMP: "I'm willing to do anything. I want to see peace."
WALLACE: "Then do it, sir. Say it."
TRUMP: "What do you want to call them. Give me a name. Who do you want me to condemn?"
WALLACE: "White supremacists and right -- "
BIDEN: "Proud Boys."
TRUMP: "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what. Somebody has to do something about antifa and the left. This is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem."

Go deeper

Giuliani condemns Capitol violence day after calling for "trial by combat"

Giuliani speaks to Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani condemned violence by pro-Trump mobs as "shameful" on Thursday morning, more than 18 hours after calling for "trial by combat" at a "Save America" Trump rally that preceded the Capitol insurrection.

Why it matters: Giuliani's tweets Thursday, which described the violence as "rejected, condemned and counter productive," stood in sharp contrast to the comments he and President Trump made at Wednesday's rally, where they encouraged supporters to continue fighting the election results and march to the Capitol.

Updated Jan 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Republicans turn on Trump after mob violence at the Capitol

Trump supporters breached security and entered the Capitol Wednesday as Congress debated the 2020 Electoral Vote certification. Photo: ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty

As pro-Trump rioters broke windows and flooded the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, many Republicans called for an end to the violence and urged President Trump to condemn the mob's actions.

Why it matters: Some Republicans came right out and blamed the president. Others withdrew their plan to object to the certification of President-elect Biden's election win, including the outgoing Sen. Kelly Loeffler (Ga.), a close Trump ally, who said she "cannot now in good conscience object" after the riot.

Updated Jan 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Homeland Security chief calls on Trump to condemn violence by his supporters

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf. Photo: GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf called on the president to condemn the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol Thursday, describing the events in a statement as "tragic and sickening."

The latest: About 90 minutes after the statement, the White House withdrew Wolf's nomination to the Senate to be confirmed as DHS secretary in a permanent capacity. The move has little practical implication, as there has not been a Senate-confirmed head of the agency since Kirstjen Nielsen resigned in April 2019.