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Photo: Bonnie Cash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters on Wednesday that he believes President Trump "misspoke" when he told the far-right "Proud Boys" group to "stand back and stand by" in response to a question about condemning white supremacy at the first presidential debate.

Catch up quick: Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump on Tuesday, "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" Trump asked who specifically he should condemn, and then responded, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

Why it matters: Scott is the only Black Republican in the Senate. Trump's refusal to explicitly condemn white supremacist groups has sparked outrage and was celebrated by members of the Proud Boys group on online messaging boards.

What they're saying: "I think he misspoke in response to Chris Wallace's comment. He was asking Chris what he wanted [him] to say, I think he misspoke. I think he should correct it. If he doesn't correct it, I guess he didn't misspeak," Scott said.

Other Republican lawmakers have also responded to Trump's non-condemnation:

  • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said "of course" when asked if Trump should have condemned white supremacists, adding, "It was not a Lincoln-Douglas debate, that's for sure."
  • Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said the debate was "a bit turgid in terms of understanding the candidates' positions on the issues," but responded "that's all I have for you" when asked about the white supremacist remarks.
  • Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said, "He should have been very clear, and he should have made it very clear that there's no room for people on the far left or the far right when it comes to either an antifa or these white supremacist groups. He should have been very clear."
  • Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) would not respond to Trump's comments specifically, only saying, "I condemn white supremacy, all extremist groups. I think that all of these groups are hateful, and I condemn them in the strongest terms."
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted: "I agree with Sen. Tim Scott's statement about President Trump needing to make it clear Proud Boys is a racist organization antithetical to American ideals."
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): "With regard to the white supremacy issue, I want to associate myself with the remarks of Sen. Tim Scott. I think he said it exactly correctly, and that’s exactly how I would express myself on that issue."
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Trump should "absolutely" condemn white supremacy and that his comments were a "mistake." She added that it was the "least educational debate" she's ever seen and said that "there was fault on both sides."

Go deeper

Republicans object to Electoral College certification

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Republicans objected to certifying the Electoral College count on Wednesday in a final effort to overturn the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: President Trump and his allies have no other path to change the election and are relying on this last ditch effort that will ultimately confirm Joe Biden as the next president.

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.

Jan 7, 2021 - Technology

The Capitol siege's QAnon roots

Trump supporters outside the Senate chamber. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Wednesday's assault on the U.S. Capitol was an appalling shock to most Americans, but to far-right true believers it was the culmination of a long-unfolding epic.

The big picture: A growing segment of the American far right, radicalized via social media and private online groups, views anyone who bucks President Trump's will as evil. That includes Democrats, the media, celebrities, judges and officeholders — even conservatives, should they cross the president.