During the first presidential debate between President Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, incredibly, Biden dismissed antifa as “an idea” in a heated discussion between the two over left-wing extremist violence, with the president firing back at Biden, “Oh, you got to be kidding.”
Republicans dispute the claim the group is “an idea,” and Attorney General William Barr previously told CNN, “I’ve talked to every police chief in every city where there has been major violence, and they all have identified antifa as the ramrod for the violence.”
During the debate, held on Tuesday, Sept. 29, in Cleveland, Ohio, Biden said, “Antifa’s an idea, not an organization. That’s what [Trump’s] FBI director said,” in an apparent reference to testimony by FBI Director Christopher Wray in September.
At a House Homeland Security Committee hearing Wray said, “Antifa is a real thing. It’s not a group or an organization. It’s a movement, or an ideology may be one way of thinking of it.”
“And we have quite a number and I’ve said this quite consistently since my first time appearing before this committee—we have any number of properly predicated investigations into what we would describe as violent anarchist extremists and some of those individuals self-identify with Antifa,” Wray said reported Fox News.
Wray’s statement came in response to an utterance by Rep. Jerry Nadler, (D-N.Y.), in July, where he rejected the idea of antifa violence in Portland as “a myth that’s being spread only in Washington, D.C.”
Journalist Andy Ngo, who has reported on antifa for years and was severely injured in an attack by antifa rioters last year, also disputed the claim that antifa is merely an “idea.”
“If Biden made the comment last year, I think it would be excusable,” Ngo told Fox News. “But by now, we’ve had months and months of rioting where there are clear antifa-organized elements. We’ve had hearings in Congress related to antifa. There is evidence in the criminal complaints against some charged showing antifa ties.”
Ngo continued, “Biden’s statement shows that on this subject, he—and the Democrats—want to keep the liberal status quo, which is to downplay and deny the threat of the organized militant far-left.”
With the violence of Portland rampant for months, Ngo commented, “What people need to know about antifa is that it is an ideology and movement that includes organized cells or groups,” he said. “You don’t maintain sustained months of rioting in places like Seattle and Portland without members, participants, and money.”
In early August, Sen. Ted Cruz, (R-Texas), convened a hearing on antifa and other extremist groups, calling riots, “organized terror attacks.”
“These violent riots are not spontaneous, nor are they mere coincidences. Instead, the evidence suggests they are organized terror attacks designed to instill fear and tear down government institutions,” he told Fox News.
During the presidential debate on Tuesday, debate moderator Chris Wallace asked the president if he was willing to condemn white supremacist and militia groups and tell those groups not to add to ongoing violence in U.S. cities, reported Fox News.
“Sure, I’m willing to do that … I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not from the right-wing … I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace,” said the president.
Despite his answer, mainstream media went after him following the debate, crying out that the president refused to condemn white supremacists. The New York Times headline reads, Trump Refuses to Denounce White Supremacy in Chaotic Debate, with NPR headline, From Debate Stage, Trump Declines To Denounce White Supremacy, among others.