Home 2020 Election Fact Check: CNN Falsely Claims Trump ‘Refuses to Call Out White Supremacists’

Fact Check: CNN Falsely Claims Trump ‘Refuses to Call Out White Supremacists’


CLAIM: CNN claimed that President Donald Trump refused to call out white supremacists in the first presidential debate.

VERDICT: FALSE. He did so explicitly, and has done so before.

CNN ran a headline Tuesday evening specifically claiming: “Trump refuses to call out white supremacists.”

The headline on https://t.co/Fpw0OxWJ2S pic.twitter.com/bov2hueSva

— Jon Passantino (@passantino) September 30, 2020

That is simply untrue.

When moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he would condemn white supremacists — falsely implying he had not done so in the past — Trump said, “Sure.” When Wallace asked him if he would ask “white supremacists and militia groups” to “stand down,” Trump said: “Sure. I’m willing to do that.”

Anyone watching the debate who claims @realDonaldTrump refused to condemn white supremacists tonight is an outright liar. https://t.co/eS8mFtl30o

— Jeff Ballabon (@ballabon) September 30, 2020

He then did so, specifically mentioning the Proud Boys, a right-wing group.

CNN later changed its headline — but not before spreading the fake news about what Trump had said.

As Breitbart News noted in a fact check Tuesday night, Trump has repeatedly condemned white supremacists — despite what Joe Biden has repeatedly claimed on the campaign trail, and what Wallace implied in his inflammatory question to Trump.


Wallace seemed poorly informed on the subject, as he was on every question he asked Trump on Tuesday involving race.

He repeated the Charlottesville “very fine people hoax,” and falsely claimed that President Trump had canceled racial sensitivity training (he only barred the use of Critical Race Theory and racial and gender discrimination within such training.)

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.