Donald Trump was asked to condemn white supremacists during the debate Tuesday night, but instead, the president handed one hate-filled group a gift in the form of a call-to-action. Here is what he said:
“Proud Boys — stand back and stand by.”
Within minutes, members of the group were posting in private social media channels, calling the president’s comments “historic.” In one channel dedicated to the Proud Boys on Telegram, a private messaging app, group members called the president’s comment a tacit endorsement of their violent tactics.
The Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, are pledging allegiance to President Trump after he told the group to “stand back and stand by” during last night’s presidential debate. @HallieJackson has more. pic.twitter.com/BCRss4IZ9h
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 30, 2020
White supremacist groups have been cited by the State Department as one of the chief threats to national security. According to findings from an early September document shared with POLITICO from the Department of Homeland Security, white supremacist groups were listed above foreign terrorists in terms of immediate danger to the country.
As usual, Trump and his team are dancing around what he actually said.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 30, 2020
But most of the country knows exactly what Trump said and more specifically, it was clear that the extremist group heard him loud and clear.
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) September 30, 2020
Trump and his team can say he misspoke or is being taken out of context about the Proud Boys.
They can’t argue with how the Proud Boys reacted.
— Jason Abbruzzese (@JasonAbbruzzese) September 30, 2020
The Proud Boys even went so far as to include Trump’s words in a new logo.
The Proud Boys updated their logo to include Trump’s remarks. Trump empowers the radical right and encourages violence in our streets. pic.twitter.com/PlL5xWsqQp
— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) September 30, 2020
It will be hard to undo what the president has done here and while we don’t expect he will admit any wrongdoing, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt is one of the leaders demanding Trump address this today, writing:
“It’s astonishing that, when asked a simple question, will you condemn white supremacists, @POTUS responded – “The Proud Boys should stand back and stand by.” Trying to determine if this was an answer or an admission. @POTUS owes America an apology or an explanation. Now.”
Marc Morial, the president of the National Urban League adds:
“This is a wink and a nod to the far right extremists who he is in simpatico with, and I guess someone that he thinks he can’t win without. So it’s deeply offensive for these types of groups to be validated and in effect, endorsed. There should not have been a moment of hesitation when he was asked would you condemn... he failed a moral moment on the debate stage last night and he, in effect, embraced groups that have committed violence against Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Catholics, Jews in this country.”
Only three things happened tonight:
NOW LOOK AT WHAT IS HAPPENING ONLINE.
THIS IS NOT OKAY. pic.twitter.com/OhANFUYqNS
— Van Jones (@VanJones68) September 30, 2020
And it’s more than just the Proud Boys. The neo-Nazi website “The Daily Stormer” wrote this:
The takeaway from the debate is this: Donald Trump is the greatest person on earth. He shouldn’t be president, he should be king. If he were king, he wouldn’t have to deal with all of the scum in Congress, the scum that runs his government, and he could deal directly with the needs of the people. (Caution: neo-Nazi website)
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