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Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for Shorewood, Minnesota

September 30, 2020

The President. Okay, thank you very much. We're going to Minnesota. I thought the debate last night was great. We've gotten tremendous reviews on it. We're hitting what people want—law and order—which Biden was unable to even talk about, because he'd lose the radical left—his radical-left followers. I don't think there's too many of them left.

But I thought it was a great evening. It was an exciting evening. I see the ratings were very high. And it was good to be there. It felt very comfortable. And I appreciate all the good words.

So we are going now, and we're going to have a big rally. A lot of people showing up.


Q. Mr. President——

Proud Boys Organization/Law Enforcement

Q. Mr. President, can you explain what you meant last night when you said that the Proud Boys should "stand back and stand by"?

The President. I don't know who the Proud Boys are. I mean, 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, let law enforcement do their work. Law enforcement will do the work more and more. As people see how bad this radical, liberal, Democrat movement is and how weak, the law enforcement is going to come back stronger and stronger.

But again, I don't know who Proud Boys are. But whoever they are, they have to stand down. Let law enforcement do their work.

Vigilante Organizations/Law Enforcement/Antifa Movement

Q. So, Mr. President, did you misspeak when you said "stand by"? That's my first question. When you said——

The President. Just "stand by." Look, law enforcement will do their work.

Q. Right.

The President. They're going to stand down. They have to stand down. Everybody—they have to stand—whatever group you're talking about, let law enforcement do the work.

Now, Antifa is a real problem, because the problem is on the left and Biden refuses to talk about it. He refuses to issue the words "law and order." And you saw that last night when he choked up. He can't say the words because he'll lose the rest of the left. So he's got to condemn Antifa. Antifa is a very bad group.

Law Enforcement/White Supremacist Organizations/Antifa Movement

Q. So, Mr. President, let me follow up: White supremacists, they clearly love you and support you. Do you welcome that?

The President. I want law and order to be a very important part—it's a very important part of my campaign. And when I say that, what I'm talking about is law enforcement has to—the police have to take care. And they should stop defunding the police like they've done in New York——

Q. But I'm talking about White supremacists, sir.

The President. ——like they've done in New York. I just told you.

Q. But do you denounce them? Do you denounce these White supremacists——

The President. I've always denounced any form——

Q. Of White supremacy?

The President. Any form—any form of any of that, you have to denounce.

But I also—and Joe Biden has to say something about Antifa. It's not a philosophy. These are people that hit people over the head with baseball bats. He's got to come out, and he's got to be strong, and he's got to condemn Antifa. And it's very important that he does that.

Q. So let me ask you about Joe Biden. Can I follow up, sir, about Joe Biden, Mr. President?

Q. Mr. President, on the election, you are—you claim that you have an "A" on your response to the coronavirus——

The President. I can't hear a word you're saying. I can't hear.

Q. But—no, but——

The President. Go ahead.

Further Presidential Debates

Q. Will you—will you debate again? Will you go ahead with the other two debates that are coming up? Will you debate again?

The President. I hear he doesn't want to go forward. But that's up to him. I mean——

Q. But what about you? Are you going forward?

The President. I would—yes, I would like to. We—by every measure, we won the debate easily last night. I think he was very weak.

Q. Would you like to see any changes?

The President. He looked weak. He was whining. Uh, yes, we won the debate by almost every poll that I saw. If you look at the various polls. And I looked at about six of them, and we won every one of them. So, no, I don't mind debating him. I hear he wants to get out of the debates. I don't know. That's up to him.

Q. Mr. President, would a Biden victory—Mr. President——

Armed Militia Groups/Crime

Q. Sir, there's a lot of worry—there's a lot of worry about the right-wing militias that are armed and going into the streets with weapons. Does that concern you that they go out there with their weapons and walk around in the streets?

The President. Yes, it does concern me. And crime generally concerns me—any form of crime. And let law enforcement take care of it.

Vote-by-Mail Policies

Q. Mr. President, why are you afraid of the election? Why are you afraid of——

The President. So we had a problem in New York. They have 100,000 ballots that are a mess. They're all confused, all mixed up. Now they say they're going to redo them, but what are they going to do with 100,000 ballots that have already been sent? This is exactly what I'm talking about. It's a big, big, big-scale problem.

A hundred thousand ballots went out to New York with the wrong names on them, wrong envelops, wrong addresses, wrong everything.

Q. I have a question about that.

The President. And now they want to redo the ballots, but that doesn't help, because what about the ones that are already sent?

Q. So, so——

The President. This is exactly what I'm talking about.

2020 Presidential Election

Q. Can I follow up to that, Mr. President? If there was an apparent Joe Biden victory come the 20th of January and you——

The President. There—there won't be. There won't be.

Q. Sir, what if there is? Would you challenge it?

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:34 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House prior to boarding Marine One. In his remarks, he referred to Democratic Presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for Shorewood, Minnesota Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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