Rather than deliver a condemnation of white supremacy at the first presidential debate, President Donald Trump instead brought up the name of a neofascist far-right group and seemingly gave his support. Moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News was discussing the protests over the summer in cities like Portland and Kenosha when he asked the president if he is “willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to violence.” Trump’s response was baffling, even for him.
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by! But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left,” the president said as a visibly shocked Joe Biden attempted to tell him that antifa isn’t actually an organization, but an ideology. Antifa, quite literally, means “anti-fascist” — the direct opposite what the group Trump name-dropped believes. The Proud Boys are a far-right hate group created in 2016 by Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes for “Western chauvinists.” The group is focused on “anti-political correctness,” and “anti-white guilt.” They believe that white men and Western culture are under siege and should be protected by violence.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has described them as an “alt-right fight club.” The Proud Boys have infiltrated peaceful protests across the United States over the summer and incited violence with left-wing activists and police. Donning gold and black Fred Perry polo shirts, the militia most recently showed up in Portland, Oregon, where Black Lives Matter demonstrators have been protesting for months. Their arrival prior to a September 27 rally was enough to call a state of emergency in Oregon amid fears of violence. It’s really no wonder why Biden told Trump to “shut up” during the debate.
If you haven’t registered to vote yet, there’s no time like the present. Simply fill out the form below, courtesy of our friends at Rock The Vote, and make sure your vote is counted on November 3: