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'Standing by, sir': Proud Boys respond to Trump presidential debate mention

Debate moderator quizzed president on far right group 

Matt Mathers
Wednesday 30 September 2020 13:16 BST
Trump refuses to denounce white supremacism and instead tells Proud Boys to ‘stand back and stand by'

Proud Boys have responded after Donald Trump name-checked the far right group during Tuesday night's presidential debate.

"Standing by sir," one key Proud Boys organiser wrote on the "free speech" social network, Parler, following the president's comments.

During Tuesday night's debate, Mr Trump appeared to refuse to distance himself from the Proud Boys, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as a hate group.

"Proud boys, stand back and stand by, but I tell you what, somebody has got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem, this is a left-wing problem," he said when asked by moderator Chris Wallace to condemn the group.

Founded in New York in 2016, Proud Boys is a white nationalist group that has been accused of inciting violence across the US amid a wave of Black Lives Matter protests.

A central figure in the Proud Boys history is Gavin McInnes, one of the co-founders of VICE magazine.  

Having left VICE in 2008, he has for years expounded extreme views on whiteness, masculinity and political culture in general – in particular that political correctness is crushing American masculinity, and that the West and Western men in particular are manifestly superior beings.

McInnes has since distanced himself from Proud Boys, according to reports.

The group held a rally in Portland, Oregon over the weekend. Thousands of Proud Boys - some of them armed - descended on the city for "free speech" event, which concluded relatively peacefully.

Proud Boys members were present during a Unite the Right rally in Charlotteville, Virginia, in 2018 which left counter-protester Heather Heyer dead and  multiple others injured.

Just hours after Tueday's debate, the group created a new logo and plastered it on merchandise, with the slogan: "Stand Back Stand By".

Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, said the call to "stand by" was "very clear he wants them to knock it off."

The Trump campaign later tweeted: "President Trump has repeatedly condemned white supremacists. What a ridiculous question from Chris Wallace.!"

"This. This is Donald Trump's America," Democrat challenger Joe Biden tweeted, after Proud Boys celebrated the president's mention.

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