Amid growing outrage over his failure to condemn white supremacist groups, Donald Trump today insisted he “doesn’t know” the Proud Boys.
The President denied any knowledge of the violent, far-right organization that describes itself as a club of “Western chauvinists”.
While Trump claims to have consistently denounced white supremacist groups, it’s not the first time he’s been put in a position of having to deny any knowledge of them.
And he has a long history of making comments that his critics view as racist or as supportive of racist groups.
In 2017, he said “both sides” were to blame for violence between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.
He later sought to walk back the comments.
Here’s just a few of the far-right figures Donald Trump doesn’t know.
1. The Proud Boys
During the chaotic first election TV debate, the President refused to condemn white supremacist groups, instead turning his fire on left-wing protesters.
Pressed to condemn the far-right, particularly the violent Proud Boys group, the President said: “Proud Boys? Stand back and stand by.”
But this morning, the President claimed not to know the Proud Boys.
“I don’t know who the Proud Boys are,” the Republican president told reporters at the White House before leaving for a campaign event. “They have to stand down. Let law enforcement do their work.”
2. Britain First
Back in 2017, Trump retweeted anti-Muslim videos posted by the then-deputy leader of fringe far-right group Britain First.
Trump’s retweets led to a huge diplomatic incident between the US and Britain and led to Theresa May publicly condemning the President.
Then later, in an interview with Piers Morgan, Trump claimed to “know nothing about them.”
He said: “If you’re telling me they’re horrible racist people, I would certainly apologise if you would like me to do that.”
“I know nothing about them.”
3. Former KKK leader David Duke
The ex-Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was an early supporter of Trump’s presidential campaign, calling on his supporters to “get active” for the then-candidate.
Asked about Duke by CNN’s Jake Tapper, Trump insisted he didn’t know anything about him. Four times.
He said: “Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke. okay? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don’t know.
“I don’t know, did he endorse me or what’s going on, because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you’re asking me a question that I’m supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about. …
“I don’t know any — honestly, I don’t know David Duke. I don’t believe I have ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him.”
In January 2016, Trump retweeted an anonymous Nazi sympathiser, who tweeted under the name @WhiteGenocideTM.
The retweet was a mean joke about Jeb Bush, but elsewhere on the user’s account were links to a website containing a pro-Hitler documentary. His location was listed as “Jewmerica”.
Asked about this later, Trump said: “Well, that, I know nothing about. I mean, I don’t know about retweeting.
“I mean, you retweet somebody, and turns out to be a white supremacist. I know nothing about these groups that are supporting me.”