Who ARE the Proud Boys Trump Told to “Stand By”?

| revcom.us


In the September 29 debate, Trump told the white supremacist Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”—as he spewed baseless lies about mail-in voting, in a blatant move to pervert and steal the election. So who ARE the Proud Boys that Trump gave instructions to and openly validated?

The Proud Boys were founded when Trump was running for president in 2016. Red MAGA hats are a prominent feature of their gatherings. Roger Stone, longtime advisor to Trump, has long openly supported the Proud Boys. Donald Trump Jr., Senator Ted Cruz, and former Florida governor Rick Scott have all posed for photos with the Proud Boys, who are a regular presence at far-right demonstrations and Trump rallies.

The Proud Boys are a fascist, violent group that mobilizes to attack Black Lives Matter and other progressive protests. They have a paramilitary wing, the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights (FOAK).On August 2, in Portland, Oregon, Proud Boy thugs armed with bear mace, clubs, and paintball guns—and one with an actual gun—attacked counter-protesters and the media.

The Proud Boys claim they’re not racists, but their leaders and rank and file regularly spout white supremacist shit and maintain affiliations with known white supremacist extremists. They were part of the August 2017 “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed by a fascist. In 2003, Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes told the New York Times, “I love being white and I think it’s something to be very proud of. I don’t want our culture diluted. We need to close the borders now and let everyone assimilate to a Western, white, English-speaking way of life.”

McInnes has said that women are “lazy” and “less ambitious” than men, and refers to feminism as “a cancer” that “makes women ugly.” The Proud Boys hatefully target the LGBTQ community, and McInnes has said gay marriage is part of a secret plan to destroy Christianity. McInnes posted a video of himself giving the Nazi salute and repeatedly saying “Heil Hitler”; another was titled “10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKING JEWS.”

In 2018, 10 Proud Boys were convicted and sentenced to four years in prison after a violent clash with anarchists in New York City. After that, McInnes no longer officially led the Proud Boys. But in a video after Tuesday’s presidential debate, he said, “I control the Proud Boys, Donald. Do not stand down, do not stand back.”

Two days after the presidential debate, Trump told Fox News that he condemned white supremacy as well as the Proud Boys. But the bell had already been rung. Within minutes of Trump’s “stand by” orders, the Proud Boys got the presses rolling with shirts saying “PROUD BOYS STANDING BY.” A Proud Boys organizer said on social media, “Trump basically said to go f*** them up! This makes me so happy.” Less than 24 hours after Trump’s salute to them, two of the largest Proud Boy social media groups reportedly added hundreds of new members.

Proud Boys, Portland, OregonProud Boys in Portland, Oregon, September 26, 2020. (Photo: AP)



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