Proud Boys Celebrate After Trump Recognized Them At The Debate
The far-right extremist group Proud Boys celebrated what they viewed as a shout out from President Donald Trump during Tuesday’s presidential debate, when the president told members of the group to “stand back and stand by.”
- NBC News reported that apparent members of the group echoed Trump’s words on social media, saying they were "standing down and standing by."
- The news outlet also reported that “One known social media account for the group made "Stand back. Stand by" part of its new logo.”
- Trump’s comment came when debate moderator Chris Wallace asked the president to condemn white supremacy, also asking whether Trump would urge white supremacist groups to “stand down.”
Trump said to "give me a name" when asked to denounce a specific group, and former Vice President Joe Biden called out the Proud Boys.
But Trump did not denounce any far-right or white supremacist groups, and he then pivoted to talk about antifa.
"Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, but 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," Trump said.
- NBC News reported that “Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs also posted after the debate that he was ‘standing by,’ and he said the president ‘basically said to go f--- them up.’"
- Biggs reportedly wrote: "President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA... well sir! we're ready!!”
- Megan Squire, a computer science professor at Elon University in North Carolina who tracks online extremism, said Trump had played into the Proud Boys’ “fantasy”:
“To say Proud Boys are energized by this is an understatement," Squire said. "They were pro-Trump before this shoutout, and they are absolutely over the moon now. Their fantasy is to fight antifa in his defense, and he apparently just asked them to do just that."