- Members of the far-right Proud Boys group are hailing President Donald Trump’s comment at Tuesday night’s presidential debate for them to “stand back and stand by.”
- Multiple members of the group spoke out online in response, posting comments like, “Standing by sir.”
- Trump addressed the group after the debate moderator Chris Wallace pressed him to condemn white supremacists and right-wing violence.
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The Proud Boys, a far-right extremist organization that has been designated a hate group, were celebrating online after President Donald Trump asked the group’s members to “stand back and stand by.”
Members of the group praised Trump’s choice of words during Tuesday night’s presidential debate, his first against Joe Biden, resharing his remarks and even embedding the words in a new graphic with their logo.
“Standing by sir,” one user who identifies with the group wrote on the social-media app Telegram, according to Mike Baker, a correspondent for The New York Times.
“President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA…well sir! we’re ready!!” another organizer, Joe Biggs, posted.
The Proud Boys hold anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, and misogynistic positions. They’ve been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
—Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) September 30, 2020
Trump’s remarks came during a debate segment dedicated to race when the moderator Chris Wallace asked the president, “Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?”
A back-and-forth then ensued among Trump, Wallace, and Biden, who also pushed the president on the issue.
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump finally said.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called the statement “astonishing” in a tweet afterward.
“Trying to determine if this was an answer or an admission,” he said. “@POTUS owes America an apology or an explanation. Now.”