Proud Boys leader claims White House ‘invite’ ahead of DC rally

‘He did not have a meeting with the president, nor did the White House invite him’

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Saturday 12 December 2020 23:53
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Trump rows back and says he 'doesn't know who the Proud Boys are' after debate outrage
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The leader of far-right group, the Proud Boys, visited the White House on Saturday, the same day that thousands of the president’s supporters rallied in DC to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to toss out Republicans’ latest election challenge.

“Last minute invite to an undisclosed location,” Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio posted on Parler, the conservative alternative to Twitter. “Wow… I’m in awe. #Trump2020.”

“Never thought I’d be here,” read another post, showing the White House’s main portico.

A White House spokesperson said that Mr Tarrio, whose group is known for hateful rhetoric and violence at protests, was not invited.

“He did not have a meeting with the president, nor did the White House invite him,” according to a statement reported by The New York Post.

Public tours of the White House are usually arranged months in advance with help from a member of Congress. Mr Tarrio did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent.

In October the president condemned the Proud Boys as a white supremacist group, after previously saying he didn’t know who they were. In September’s presidential debate, he told the group to “stand back and stand by” during a question about far-right extremism.  

"I've said it many times, let me be clear again, I condemn the KKK [Ku Klux Klan],” the president told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “I condemn all white supremacists. I condemn the Proud Boys.”

Mr Tarrio was one of many presidential supporters converging on the capital to continue protests against the election results, which countless federal, state, and local officials including US attorney general William Barr have said was legitimate and free from any meaningful irregularities.  

On Friday, the Supreme Court, in a brief, unsigned order, declined to take a case from the Texas attorney general, supported by numerous Republican congressmen and attorneys general, which sought to overturn election results from key battleground states, setting off a new wave of “Stop the Steal” protests in the capitol. 

The president appeared furious with the decision, which found that Texas didn’t have the legal standing to bring a suit invalidating other states’ election results. He spent much of Friday and Saturday morning bashing the Court on Twitter for allowing what he called “the greatest voter fraud ever perpetrated on the United States of America.”

In the weeks before the election, the president said he rushed to confirm Amy Coney Barrett because he expected the results to be decided in the Supreme Court, not the ballot box.

"I think this will end up in the Supreme Court,” the president said in September. “And I think it's very important that we have nine justices.”  

Turnout was reportedly lower at Saturday’s demonstrations than similar protests in November. Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, recently pardoned national security adviser Michael Flynn, and the Proud Boys all reportedly made appearances

People on the ground at the protests reported various clashes between police, Proud Boys, and counter-protestors.

Michael Flynn, the president’s recently pardoned former national security adviser, also addressed a crowd at the event, where the president’s helicopter, Marine One, reportedly did a fly-over.

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