Washington / Los Angeles:
President Donald Trump, who was asked if he would denounce white supremacists and militia groups during the US presidential debate on Tuesday evening, called on the right-wing Proud Boys to “stand down and stand by”.
Who are the proud boys?
The Proud Boys were founded during the 2016 US election by Vice Media co-founder and Canadian-British rights activist Gavin McInnes, who has since distanced himself from the group.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an anti-hate organization, the group likely has several hundred members with chapters in most states and a few other countries. They caught media attention in late 2018 after a violent confrontation with left-wing protesters in New York City and have returned to the spotlight during protests in recent months.
They describe themselves as a male-only club of “western chauvinists” who “refuse to apologize for creating the modern world“. The group, whose members are multiracial, has been called on by advocates overseeing extremism for misogynist, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Group members tend to adhere to an ideology that rejects overt white supremacy but welcomes chauvinism, according to the ADL.
Last year, two members of the group were sentenced to four years in prison for their role in a violent brawl with anti-fascist protesters in 2018 after McInnes gave a speech at a Republican club in New York City.
Why were they mentioned during the debate?
Debate host Chris Wallace asked Trump if he was ready to condemn and tell white supremacists and militia groups to “resign” and not contribute to the violence in recent protests in US cities like Portland, Oregon and Kenosha, Wisconsin .
Trump agreed and asked, “Who should I judge?” Biden interjected: “The Proud Boys.”
Trump then called on the Proud Boys to “step back and stand by,” but quickly turned the conversation to Antifa, a left-wing anti-Nazi ideology whose supporters he has blamed for violence during protests in recent months.
In a Proud Boys channel in the Telegram messaging app, the members shared a version of their logo that, after Trump’s remarks, contained the words “hold back, hold ready”.
Joe Biggs, a member of Proud Boys, celebrated the mention of the group on the Parler social media platform, saying: “President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone has to deal with ANTIFA … well, Sir! We are ready! ” “”
On Wednesday, Trump went back on his remarks at the White House, telling reporters he was unfamiliar with the Proud Boys, but the group should let law enforcement do their job.
How are the proud boys tied to the recent US protests?
The group has violently argued with Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters in Portland and other cities in recent months. At rallies, members often wear black and yellow polo shirts, wear body armor, and carry weapons, including firearms, paintball rifles, and baseball bats.
Ahead of a Proud Boys rally in Portland last Saturday, Oregon Democratic Governor Kate Brown declared the city’s state of emergency over the weekend, citing the imminent risk of civil unrest resulting in injury or death.
The rally, which was attended by hundreds of Proud Boys supporters, was largely peaceful, but police and left-wing protesters later clashed in downtown Portland.
Are the Proud Boys a hate group?
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), another anti-hate advocacy group, called the Proud Boys a hate group in 2018. McInnes sued the organization for the hate term in February 2019, saying it was “deliberately fraudulent” and intended to harm its reputation.
The case is ongoing and lawyers from both parties did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Oregon’s Governor Brown criticized the Proud Boys in a tweet on Wednesday. “Let’s be clear: the Proud Boys are white supremacists,” she said. “Racism and hatred are not forms of patriotism.”
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)