During the presidential debate, Donald Trump was asked by moderator Chris Wallace to publicly denounce white supremacist groups and militias, many of which are his biggest supporters. Instead of denouncing them, Trump lashed out at left-wing groups saying that they posed a bigger threat to the country, and name-dropped the white supremacist group “Proud Boys.”
“Sure, I’m willing to [tell them to stand down], but I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not from the right-wing. I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace,” Trump said.
Joe Biden urged Trump to publicly denounce the white supremacist groups, “Say it. Do it. Say it.”
Trump then asked who they wanted him to denounce. “Proud Boys,” Biden said twice. Trump went on to say “Proud Boys — stand back and stand by,” before going after Antifa, saying “But I’ll tell you what. I’ll tell you what. Somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem.”
Since Trump’s refusal to denounce white supremacist groups, his mention of the Proud Boys has drawn celebration amongst the white supremacist group. Images of an updated Proud Boys logo with the caption “stand by” has circulated around the internet.
Trump’s race-baiting tactics come as no surprise as this is not the first time he has refused to publicly denounce white supremacist groups or acts of violence caused by white supremacist groups. However, tonight’s remarks telling Proud Boys to “stand by” sounded more like a threat or call to action in case he loses this coming November.