Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana said Wednesday he thinks President Donald Trump should clarify his remarks at the presidential debate that the Proud Boys should “stand back and stand by.”
“I think that is confusing,” Braun said during a routine media availability. “There should be a clear denunciation of right extremists, left extremists. Anybody who takes whatever their point of view is and they go beyond peacefully protesting, they need to be held accountable. It’s been playing out in the carnage you’ve see not only in Indianapolis but across most of the major cities across the country.”
During the debate, when pressed by former Vice President Joe Biden and moderator Chris Wallace to condemn white supremacists, the president asked for the name of a specific group.
Biden said “Proud Boys,” a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal advocacy organization, has designated as a hate group.
Trump 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.”
Members of the Proud Boys have since been celebrating Trump’s remarks, with one group making it part of their logo on social media.
Braun, a Republican, said he thinks the “high-decibel level” at the debate led to confusion, but he said there should be no uncertainty when it comes to condemning white supremacy.
GOPUSA Editor’s Note: Trump’s complete statement after Charlottesville:
Trump, Aug. 14, 2017: As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America.
And as I have said many times before: No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry, and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.
Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.
We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our Creator. We are equal under the law. And we are equal under our Constitution. Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America. Source
For his part, Braun wishes both candidates had spoken more to the issues at the debate, though he said he thinks his fellow Republican did the better overall job on such specifics.
“President Trump needs to do a better job of highlighting why it’s been a good economy pre-COVID,” Braun said, “about some of the regulations that were crazy that they’ve lightened up on and explain why it would be different under Democratic proposals.
“Economy, health care, climate, we need to hear more from both of them about the particulars on those three issues.”
Braun said everyone has strong opinions about the president, but undecided voters want to hear more about what he has accomplished.
“He infuriates half the country,” Braun said, “and he elates the other half. For those who have not decided, I think it’s going to go to the merits of the case.”
USA TODAY contributed to this story.
Call IndyStar reporter Chris Sikich at 317-444-6036. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisSikich.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Sen. Mike Braun says Trump should clarify Proud Boys comment from presidential debate
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