President Trump had many low moments when he squared off against democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden during last night’s presidential debate (September 29), but it’s his refusal to disavow white supreamsicts that likely stuck out most to Black voters. And according to NBC News, the right-wing hate group Proud Boys, who Trump told to “stand back and stand by,” is doing just that with a new logo now including Trump’s words "Stand back. Stand by."
This morning (Sept. 30), in response to Trump’s dangerous directive, Biden tweeted a video of the president’s comments along with a caption that read, “There’s no other way to put it: the President of the United States refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage last night.”
The Proud Boys describe themselves as a men’s organization founded in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes. McInnes said the Proud Boys are “a pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world; aka Western Chauvinists.”
While some supporters say the Proud Boys are not an “alt-right” group of white supremacists, they have been associated with inciting violence at extremists gatherings like the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“Their disavowals of bigotry are belied by their actions: rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric,” the SPLC says.
When moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump last night specifically about whether or not he would be willing to denounce Antifa and other left-wing, political extremist movements and finally condemn his association with white supremacy by announcing that racist groups need to stand down and not incite further violence as has been seen in Kenosha, Wisconsin and Portland, Oregon, the president’s answer caught many by surprise.
“I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace,” said Trump who then followed that statement with, “Proud Boys! Stand back and stand by” before then saying that someone has to do something about Antifa and acknowledging that it’s not his problem, it's “a left-wing problem.”
Biden followed by saying that Antifa is “an idea not an organization,” before Wallace then moved the conversation forward. It was enough to get Twitter reacting with many saying that Trump’s inability to provide a hard and fast condemnation of the Proud Boys only further contributes to the notion that he embraces white supremacy and supports their anti-Muslim, misogynist, and racist ideologies and endeavors.
Even dictionary Merriam-Webster joined the backlash tweeting the definitions “stand down” and “stand by.”
Trump’s comment is of particular concern given he refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the presidential election when asked by a reporter last Wednesday.
"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," Trump said.
Trump has also previously refused to say whether he would accept the election results and has joked about staying in office past two terms.
(Photos from left: Win McNamee/Getty Images, Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty Images)