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Equalities minister claims it’s not her job to criticise Trump for white supremacist comments

Liz Truss appears on the Peston programme - Credit: ITV

Equalities minister Liz Truss has refused to criticise the president of the United States when he refused to condemn white supremacists in the first 2020 US election debate.

During the debate on Wednesday evening, the president was asked by moderator Chris Wallace whether he was now willing to forthrightly condemn white supremacists and militia groups who committed acts of violence across America this summer.

“I would say, almost everything I see is from the left-wing,” Trump demurred.

Repeatedly pressed on the point Trump quickly tried to deflect attention by telling viewers: “I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem….. This is a left-wing problem.”

Back in the UK, Truss was questioned about the comments on the ITV Peston programme.

Presenter Robert Peston said: “You as equalities minister must have been horrified last night when president Trump refused to criticise white supremacists.”

“I’m afraid I haven’t had time to catch up on the debates”, said Truss.

“I can assure you that’s what happened,” responded Peston, looking for criticism.

“It’s going to be weekend viewing,” insisted the minister. 

But Truss, who is seeking to agree a trade agreement between the UK and US, insisted it was not the job of ministers to criticise.

She explained: “I am completely committed to the equality agenda in the UK, and I will watch it for myself, but it’s not our job to intervene in foreign politics.”

The equalities minister last month also failed to criticise former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, appointing him to a trade role, despite his historic sexist and homophobic views.