After dancing around a question to denounce racism, President Trump finally told the white supremacists group the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”
The extreme right-wing group took the comment, given during the first presidential debate during this 2020 election season, as a directive from their Commander in Chief.
Moderator Chris Wallace asked the president to directly repudiate white supremacy and ask those who practice ethnic or race base hate to “stand down” during the Tuesday night debate.
Playing coy, 45 quipped “Give me a name,” to which the former Vice President and the Democratic nominee Joe Biden immediately offered, “The Proud Boys.”
While he did not denounce the group or any other white supremacists group, he did manage to do the bare minimum and flip it his critique back to the extreme far left.
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem.”
However, upon hearing this the Proud Boys took this as a mark of validation, allegedly commenting in their private social media groups on platforms like the messaging app Telegram, that this was a “historic” moment for their movement.
The account on Telegram posted, “Standing down and standing by sir,” as it posted additional videos of white men seemingly answering the call and celebrating their inclusion on this national stage, by who many believe is the most powerful white man in the “free world.”
The president played like he is not connected to this group, but Joe Biggs, a principal Proud Boys organizer believes that Trump was saying to them to “basically said to go f**k them up.” Adding, “this makes me so happy.”
Writing in a caption, “President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA… well sir! we’re ready!!”
After the debate, candidate Biden posted on Twitter evidence of these online conversations and how the president’s veiled remarks were more like a dog-whistle to this unamerican. He wrote, “This. This is Donald Trump’s America.”
This. This is Donald Trump's America. https://t.co/wld2mmGTwe
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 30, 2020
There was some support for the Proud Boys, even from people of color who claim that the group is Christian-based.
People playing victim & spreading disinformation about the #ProudBoys either have an agenda or are truly illiterate.
There’s a difference btw “Nationalist” & Supremacist”.
A white nationalist loves his lineage.
A Black nationalist loves his lineage.
Same with 4 all POC in BTW. https://t.co/kNo2B0N0LV
— 𝕊𝕜𝕪 (@SKYRIDER4538) September 30, 2020
And aint s### racist bout the #ProudBoys… Y'all just didn't expect mfks to match your violence. Fist for fist…
I know some Proud Boys that'll knock yo ass out over my black ass! 😘
— Monique Worthy (@1MoniqueWorthy) September 30, 2020
Proud Boys are not white supremacists. That's a fact.
— Julius (@TodayWithJulius) September 30, 2020