While it’s difficult to parse what part of last night’s presidential debate was the worst, there can be no doubt that Donald Trump’s refusal to condemn the Proud Boys ranks in the top three of the worst moments.
What’s more, the current White House occupant’s command to “stand back and stand by” was rightly viewed as a call to violence. So much so that the extremist group has now adopted the command into their sigil.
And given how members of the group have been making clear that they will not only intimidate people into not voting but are excited to “f*ck people up,” it’s no exaggeration to state that Trump is supporting acts that most countries would classify as ‘terrorism.’
With a presence in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the Proud Boys are homegrown extremists. This male-only group was founded in 2016 by Gavin McInnes and believes that the white race — especially “Western white men” — are under threat of extinction.
They subscribe to “white genocide ” conspiracy theories, organized the “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville N.C. (the same rally that claimed the life of Heather Heyer ), and glorifies extremist violence against those they perceive to be their “enemies.”
In 2018, the FBI classified the Proud Boys as an extremist group with ties to white nationalism . They’ve also been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and NPR’s “The Takeaway .”
These are not matters of opinion or political differences. These are matters of fact.
Any attempts to excuse or otherwise downplay Trump’s connection to the Proud Boys — or claim that he’s really not a white supremacist, totally! — is nothing short of intellectual dishonesty.
The group has adopted Trump’s command to “stand back and stand by” into their sigil, and members of the group have made clear that they believe Trump is commanding them to intimidate voters and harm their perceived enemies , or, in their words–“f*$k them up. ”
Not even Piers Morgan — a longtime Trump lapdog — can get behind this madness, as you can see in the video below.
Throughout the debate, Trump was given a moment to prove he was the President of the United States. He had a chance to make clear that he does not endorse violence, that he does not want to split the country into “for” and “against,” and to make clear that he will govern everyone fairly, regardless of whether they supported him politically.
He did none of that.
He, instead, propped up dangerous militants merely because they compliment him.
He chose to further feed his ego at the expense of innocent American lives. And while it shouldn’t be surprising that Trump only cares about himself — his botched COVID response pretty much sent the message that he literally does not care whether Americans live or die — it still remains a point of pure shock that anyone can defend him or claim that their support of him does not make them a racist.
Joe Biden has his own problems, to be sure, but at least he’s not out here supporting organizations like the Proud Boys. And, at this point, there can be no denying that a vote for Trump is a vote for white supremacy.
There’s no more middle ground, no more what-about-ism, no more “but Hillary, but Obama, but Bill Clinton, but your mother” — either you’re voting for American democracy in the form of Joe Biden, or you’re voting for white supremacist fascism with Trump and the Proud Boys.