PRESIDENT Donald Trump has said he "doesn't know who the Proud Boys are" a day after telling them to "stand back and stand by" during the first presidential debate.
On Wednesday, the president told the press that he has "always denounced" white supremacy, before claiming that he doesn't know the right-wing militant group.
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"I don't know who the Proud Boys are," Trump said. "You'll have to give me a definition because I really don't know who they are. I can only say they have to stand down and let law enforcement do their work"
Trump also called out Democratic candidate Joe Biden for not talking about Antifa, according to the Daily Mail.
"Now, Antifa is a real problem," he said. "Because the problem is on the left. And Biden refuses to talk about it. He refuses to issue the word 'Law and order.' You saw that last night when he choked up."
The president's comments come less than 24 hours after the first presidential debate where he called on the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by" when asked to denounce white supremacy.
The Proud Boys is a white nationalist hate group that was founded in 2016.
The group has been accused of inciting violence during clashes across the United States.
Within minutes of Trump's comment, members of the group were posting in private social media channels hailing the president’s words as “historic.”
In one Telegram channel dedicated to the Proud Boys, members claimed the comment was a tacit endorsement of their extreme tactics.
In another message, a member commented that the hate-fueled organization was already seeing a spike in “new recruits.”
One account linked to the Proud Boys even appeared to have designed a new "Stand back. Stand by" logo.
Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs wrote: "President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA… well sir! we're ready!
"Trump basically said to go f**k them up! this makes me so happy."
Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the president's campaign, said the call to "stand by" was "very clear he wants them to knock it off."
The Trump campaign later tweeted: "President Trump has repeatedly condemned white supremacists.
"What a ridiculous question from Chris Wallace!"
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a tweet that the president's answer was "astonishing."
"President Trump owes America an apology or an explanation," he said. "Now."
Trump's criticism of Biden on Wednesday stems from the former vice president's comments on Antifa during the debate.
"Antifa’s an idea, not an organization,” Biden said. "That’s what [Trump's] FBI director said."
Last week, Trump brought forth a plan to label Antifa a terrorist organization, Fox News reported.
Antifa is a group opposed to extreme right-wing political groups.
After the debate, Candace Owens, an outspoken Republican, bashed Biden for asking Trump to condemn white supremacists but not condemning antifa himself.
"Unbelievable. Every person in America knows these riots are being orchestrated by black lives matter and Antifa," she tweeted. "Chris Wallace asks the President to condemn white supremacists but did not think to ask Joe Biden to condemn Antifa or BLM."
The next presidential debate will take place on October 15.
And the vice presidential debate between Democrat Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence will take place on October 7.
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