News, Culture & Society

Joe Biden tells Proud Boys ‘cease and desist’

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he doesn’t know who the Proud Boys are but advised them to stand down after the militant group used his debate remarks as a rallying cry.

Trump has come under fire from Democratic rival Joe Biden and some members of his own party for failing to condemn white supremacists when given the chance on the debate stage Tuesday night.

The Color Toner Experts

‘I’ve always denounced any form of any of that,’ the president said Wednesday on the South Lawn of the White House before he left for Minnesota.

He also claimed he didn’t know who the Proud Boys are even though he called them out by name during the debate. 

‘I don’t know who the Proud Boys are, if you want to give me a definition,’ he said. 

‘I don’t know who Proud Boys are, but they have to stand down and let law enforcement do their work,’ he added.

He then pivoted to an attack on Democratic rival Joe Biden and antifa, a left wing political philosophy the president has tried to paint as a hate group.

‘Let law enforcement do the work. Now antifa is a real problem, because the problem is on the left. And Biden refuses to talk about it. He refuses to issue the word “Law and order.” You saw that last night when he choked up,’ Trump said.

‘Joe Biden has to say something about antifa. It’s not a philosophy,’ he noted. ‘These are people that hit people over the head.’

Antifa is an unorganized group opposed to extreme right-wing political groups like fascists. It’s a political idea that many different groups support. And law enforcement has found no evidence these groups were working with the Black Lives Matter protesters in cities across the United States.

Meanwhile, Biden warned the Proud Boys to ‘cease and desist’ after the far right group celebrated the president’s remarks online.

‘Cease and desist. The American people will decide who the next president of the United States will be, period,’ Biden said in Ohio Wednesday in his first remarks after his chaotic debate with the president.

‘My message to the Proud Boys and every white supremacy group is cease and desist. This is not who we are as Americans,’ he added. 

In one many stand out moments during the first presidential debate, Trump declined to condemn white supremacists and civilian militias when asked. The president then appeared to issue a call to arms to the Proud Boys, a militant group of mostly white men. 

‘Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, but I tell you what, somebody has got to do something about antifa and the left because this is not a right wing problem, this is a left-wing problem,’ Trump said when he was challenged to condemn white supremacists during Tuesday’s presidential debate. 

President Donald Trump said he doesn’t know who the Proud Boys are but advised them to stand down after the militant group used his debate remarks as a rallying cry

Joe Biden warned the far right group Proud Boys to 'cease and desist' after they turned President Donald Trump's remarks about them during the presidential debate into a rallying cry

Joe Biden warned the far right group Proud Boys to ‘cease and desist’ after they turned President Donald Trump’s remarks about them during the presidential debate into a rallying cry

Members of the Proud Boys gather outside a rally where President Trump officially launched his re-election campaign on June 18, 2019 in Orlando

Members of the Proud Boys gather outside a rally where President Trump officially launched his re-election campaign on June 18, 2019 in Orlando

Several hundred members of the Proud Boys and other similar groups gathered for a rally at Delta Park in Portland in September

Several hundred members of the Proud Boys and other similar groups gathered for a rally at Delta Park in Portland in September

Proud Boys is a far-right organization that admits only men as members and promotes and engages in political violence. The group believes white men and western culture are under siege and one of its co-founders recorded a video titled ’10 things I hate about the Jews.’ 

Members celebrated Trump’s words online, telling the president: ‘We’re ready.’ Their account on the social media app Telegram posted: ‘Standing down and standing by sir.’   

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal advocacy organization, has designated the all-male Proud Boys as a hate group. The group is known for its violent clashes at political rallies. Members were spotted at a Trump rally in Colorado in February. 

Several Republicans have called on the president to clear up his debate remarks on white supremacists.

Republican Senator Mitt Romney said ‘of course’ the president should have condemned white supremacists during the presidential debate Tuesday night.  

‘Of course, of course,’ Romney, who’s openly criticized Trump when he disagrees with the president, told reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning.

‘It was not a Lincoln Douglas debate, that’s for sure,’ he added. 

Other Republicans said they would give the president a chance to explain, including Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black GOP senator. 

‘I think he misspoke in response to Chris Wllace’s comment,’ Scott said on Capitol Hill Wednesday. ‘He was asking Chris what he wanted to say. I think he misspoke. I think he should correct it. If he doesn’t correct it I guess he didn’t misspeak.’

And Republican Senator Todd Young of Indiana said the president should have been clear that extremist groups from both the left and right should be condemned.

‘He should have been very clear, and he should have made it very clear that there’s no room for people on the far left or the far more far right. When it comes to either an antifa or these white supremacist groups should have been very clear,’ Young said.

The Proud Boys were celebrating online Tuesday night after Donald Trump told them to 'stand back and stand by' during the first presidential debate

The Proud Boys were celebrating online Tuesday night after Donald Trump told them to ‘stand back and stand by’ during the first presidential debate

Following the shout out several members of the group appeared to pledge their allegiance to the president. One social media account connected to the organization even appeared to made 'Stand back. Stand by' part of a new logo

Joe Biden retweeted a post which looked to show a number of their posts in the wake of Trump's comments. He wrote: 'This. This is Donald Trump's America'

Following the shout out several members of the group appeared to pledge their allegiance to the president. One social media account connected to the organization even appeared to made ‘Stand back. Stand by’ part of a new logo

Republican Senator Mitt Romney said 'of course' President Donald Trump should have condemned white supremacists during the presidential debate

Republican Senator Mitt Romney said ‘of course’ President Donald Trump should have condemned white supremacists during the presidential debate

Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina said President Trump should clarify his remarks on white supremacists made in the presidential debate

Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina said President Trump should clarify his remarks on white supremacists made in the presidential debate

READ THE FULL ‘PROUD BOYS’ EXCHANGE  

CHRIS WALLACE: You have repeatedly criticized the vice president for not specifically calling out Antifa and other left wing extremist groups. But are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia group and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha and as we’ve seen in Portland.

DONALD TRUMP: Sure, I’m willing to do that.

CHRIS WALLACE: Are you prepared specifically to do it.

DONALD TRUMP: I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing not from the right wing.

CHRIS WALLACE: But what are you saying?

DONALD TRUMP: I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.

CHRIS WALLACE: Well, do it, sir.

JOE BIDEN: Say it, do it say it.

DONALD TRUMP: What do you want to call them? Give me a name, give me a name, go ahead who do you want me to condemn.

CHRIS WALLACE: White supremacist and white militia.

JOE BIDEN:  Proud boys. Proud boys. 

DONALD TRUMP: Okay. 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.

JOE BIDEN: His own FBI Director said unlike white supremacist, Antifa is an idea not an organization-

DONALD TRUMP: Oh you got to be kidding me.

JOE BIDEN: … not a militia. That’s what his FBI Director said.

DONALD TRUMP: Well, then you know what, he’s wrong.

CHRIS WALLACE: We’re done, sir. Moving onto the next… [crosstalk]

 

Following the debate shout out, several members of Proud Boys pledged their allegiance to the president. 

One social media account connected to the organization even appeared to made ‘Stand back. Stand by’ part of a new logo.

Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs wrote: ‘President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA… well sir! we’re ready!

‘Trump basically said to go f*** them up! this makes me so happy.’

Joe Biden retweeted a post which looked to show a number of their posts in the wake of Trump’s comments. 

He wrote: ‘This. This is Donald Trump’s America.’  

Republican Senator Mitt Romney said ‘of course’ President Donald Trump should have condemned white supremacists during the presidential debate Tuesday night.  

‘Of course, of course,’ Romney, who’s openly criticized Trump when he disagrees with the president, told reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning.

‘It was not a Lincoln Douglas debate, that’s for sure,’ he added of the clash between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden that pundits dubbed a ‘s*** show’ and ‘dumpster fire.’  

Other Republicans said they would give the president a chance to explain, including Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black GOP senator. 

‘I think he misspoke in response to Chris Wllace’s comment,’ Scott said on Capitol Hill Wednesday. ‘He was asking Chris what he wanted to say. I think he misspoke. I think he should correct it. If he doesn’t correct it I guess he didn’t misspeak.’

And Republican Senator Todd Young of Indiana said the president should have been clear that extremist groups from both the left and right should be condemned.

‘He should have been very clear, and he should have made it very clear that there’s no room for people on the far left or the far more far right. When it comes to either an antifa or these white supremacist groups should have been very clear,’ Young said.

And Hogan Gidley, the spokesman for the Trump campaign, said the president condemned them three times during the debate. 

‘He did call them out. He has condemned them,’ Gidley said on CNN. ‘He said sure three times.’  

Some of the president’s other supporters also said he missed out on the chance to condemn such hate groups, including Brian Kilmeade, one of the co-hosts of Trump’s favorite morning show ‘Fox & Friends.’ 

‘Donald Trump ruined the biggest layup in the history of debates by not condemning white supremacists,’ Kilmeade said on the cable news morning show Wednesday. 

‘I don’t know if he didn’t hear it, but he’s gotta clarify that right away,’ he added. ‘Why the president didn’t just knock it out of the park, I’m not sure.’      

The Proud Boys hold a rally in Portland, Oregon on Saturday. Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency prior to Saturdays rally as fears of political violence between Proud Boys and Black Lives Matter protesters grew.

The Proud Boys hold a rally in Portland, Oregon on Saturday. Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency prior to Saturdays rally as fears of political violence between Proud Boys and Black Lives Matter protesters grew.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted: ‘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.’

Proud Boys describes itself as a fraternal organization that ‘venerates the housewife’ and is ‘anti-political correctness.’ It has been suspended from both Twitter and Facebook. 

Computer science professor Megan Squire told NBC News: ‘To say Proud Boys are energized by this is an understatement.

‘They were pro-Trump before this shoutout, and they are absolutely over the moon now. Their fantasy is to fight antifa in his defense, and he apparently just asked them to do just that.’

Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the president’s campaign, said Trump’s call to ‘stand by’ was ‘very clear he wants them to knock it off’. 

A Proud Boy wearing a Proud Boys yamaka is seen during a Proud Boys Rally at Delta Park Vanport. The Oregon governor declared an emergency in advance of the event hosted by a right-wing group with a history of violence at protests

A Proud Boy wearing a Proud Boys yamaka is seen during a Proud Boys Rally at Delta Park Vanport. The Oregon governor declared an emergency in advance of the event hosted by a right-wing group with a history of violence at protests

Members of the far-right group posted about the shout out, telling the president: 'We're ready.' Their account on the social media app Telegram posted: 'Standing down and standing by sir'

Members of the far-right group posted about the shout out, telling the president: ‘We’re ready.’ Their account on the social media app Telegram posted: ‘Standing down and standing by sir’

The Trump campaign tweeted afterward: ‘President Trump has repeatedly condemned white supremacists. What a ridiculous question from Chris Wallace.’ 

Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes started the Proud Boys in 2016. 

McInnes and the Proud Boys have described the group as a politically incorrect men’s club for ‘Western chauvinists’ and deny affiliations with far-right extremist groups that overtly espouse racist and anti-Semitic views.

In February last year, McInnes sued the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling the Proud Boys as a hate group. 

In response to the lawsuit, the law center said Proud Boys members often spread ‘outright bigotry’ over the internet and have posted social media pictures of themselves with prominent Holocaust deniers, white nationalists and ‘known neo-Nazis.’

In New York City in October 2018, police arrested several Proud Boys members who brawled with anti-fascist protesters following a speech by McInnes at a Manhattan Republican club. 

Proud Boys members also have frequently clashed with counterprotesters at rallies in California and Oregon.  

About 1,000 people gathered at the Proud Boys rally in Delta Park on Saturday, while a group of 500 left-wing counter-protesters massed at nearby Peninsula Park, leading to fears of clashes.

Ahead of the right-wing rally, which organizers said was to support President Donald Trump and ‘to end domestic terrorism’, Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency and Mayor Ted Wheeler said it poses the ‘greatest threat we’ve faced so far’ amid fears of clashes with left-wing protesters.    

President Donald Trump listens to Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate Tuesday

President Donald Trump listens to Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate Tuesday

Debate moderator Chris Wallace asked the president if he would condemn white supremacists and militia groups.

‘I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not from the right wing,’ Trump said.

Wallace asked him to clarify what he meant. 

‘I’m willing to do anything, I want to see peace,’ Trump said.

‘Then do it, sir,’ Wallace challenged.

‘What do you want to call them? Give me a name, give me a name,’ Trump said. 

‘White supremacist and right wing militias,’ Wallace said.

Instead, Trump turned to attack antifa, an unorganized group opposed to extreme right-wing political groups like fascists.

‘Proud boys, stand back and stand by, but I tell you what, somebody has got to do something about antifa and the left because this is not a right wing problem, this is a left-wing problem,’ he said. 

But antifa is not an organization – it’s a political idea that many different groups support. And law enforcement has found no evidence these groups were working with the Black Lives Matter protesters in cities across the United States.

Trump has declined to call out the citizen militias that have sprung up during the protests as he declined to do Tuesday night. 

‘Antifa is an idea not an organization. His FBI director said,’ Biden said.

‘Antifa is a dangerous, radical,’ Trump started saying as Wallace interrupted him to say they were moving on to another topic.

But the president got in one last zinger on antifa: ‘They’ll overthrow you.’

Race relations, like other debate topics, resulted in a furious back-and-forth, shouting over each other conversation between the presidential contenders.  

At one point in the night, Biden called Trump a ‘racist’ when the two men debated race relations in the country.

Trump was defending his decision to end racial sensitivity training for federal workers when his Democratic rival hit him with the ‘racist’ label.

Who are the Proud Boys? Inside the far-right group who describe themselves as ‘Western chauvinist’ men and are classified as extremists by the FBI – and have a chummy relationship with Donald Trump 

The Proud Boys is a far-right fraternal organization that was founded on the idea that white men and western culture are under siege and champions being ‘anti-political correctness’ and ‘venerating the housewife’.  

The group has been known to promote and engage in political violence as they push their pro-gun, anti-feminist, anti-immigration and anti-welfare. The group maintains that it is not racist despite incorporating elements of the ‘white genocide’ conspiracy theory into its core tenets.  

The Proud Boys were classified as an extremist group with ties to white nationalism by the FBI, while the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) lists them as a hate group and the Anti-Defamation League describes them as misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-immigration.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube suspended official Proud Boys social media accounts from their platforms for promoting ‘hateful content’ after the SPLC made its designation in 2018. 

The group has a history of street violence targeting left-wing and anti-fascist activists and protest movements. In the past few months Proud Boys have repeatedly dropped in on Black Lives Matter demonstrations taking place across the country, sparking violent clashes on several occasions. 

Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes is quoted as saying in 2015: ‘I want violence, I want punching in the face. I’m disappointed in Trump supporters for not punching enough.’ 

The organization made headlines this week after Donald Trump refused to condemn their associations with white supremacy during his first 2020 presidential debate against Joe Biden on Tuesday night. 

The Proud Boys is a far-right fraternal organization that was founded on the idea that white men and western culture are under siege and champions being 'anti-political correctness' and 'venerating the housewife'. Members of the group are seen marching across the Hawthorne Bridge during a rally in Portland, Oregon, on August 17, 2019

The Proud Boys is a far-right fraternal organization that was founded on the idea that white men and western culture are under siege and champions being ‘anti-political correctness’ and ‘venerating the housewife’. Members of the group are seen marching across the Hawthorne Bridge during a rally in Portland, Oregon, on August 17, 2019

FOUNDING:

British-Canadian activist and Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes founded the Proud Boys in the months leading up to Donald Trump’s election to the presidency in 2016.  McInnes started the group as a joke in the far-right Taki’s Magazine, adopting its name from the Aladdin song Proud Of Your Boy. 

McInnes and the Proud Boys have described the group as a politically incorrect men’s club for ‘Western chauvinists’ and deny affiliations with far-right extremist groups that overtly espouse racist and anti-Semitic views.

In February last year, McInnes sued the Alabama-based SPLC, claiming he was banned from social media platforms and saw his livelihood suffer after the organization branded the Proud Boys as a hate group.  

‘What they [the SPLC] do is they cast this wide net of ‘everyone’s a Nazi’ and they start destroying lives,’ McInnes said at a news conference announcing his lawsuit. ‘This is a free speech nation, and this is not a free speech organization.’ 

However McInnes recorded a video titled ‘ 10 things I hate about the Jews,’ and said Jews have a ‘whiny paranoid fear of Nazis’ and that Israelis don’t support President Donald Trump because they’re ‘scared of Christians and Trump, who are their biggest allies.’

Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, responded to the suit by saying: ‘Gavin McInnes has a history of making inflammatory statements about Muslims, women and the transgender community. The fact that he’s upset with SPLC tells us that we’re doing our job exposing hate and extremism.’

McInnes has since worked to distance the group from the alt-right, describing members as ‘Western chauvinists’ and denying affiliations with far-right extremist groups that overtly espouse racist and anti-Semitic views. 

Enrique Tarrio is currently serving in the role of chairman for the Proud Boys.  

British-Canadian activist and Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes (pictured) founded the Proud Boys in the months leading up to Donald Trump's election to the presidency in 2016

British-Canadian activist and Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes (pictured) founded the Proud Boys in the months leading up to Donald Trump’s election to the presidency in 2016

Enrique Tarrio is currently serving in the role of chairman for the Proud Boys. Tarrio is pictured during an Oregon rally this month

Enrique Tarrio is currently serving in the role of chairman for the Proud Boys. Tarrio is pictured during an Oregon rally this month

JOINING THE GROUP: 

The Proud Boys only admits men into its ranks, as the name suggests. Members share a number of ideologies that include being pro-gun rights, anti-feminism and anti-immigration. 

To join, members must make the following pledge: ‘I am a proud western chauvinist, I refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.’

Members can be identified by an unofficial uniform of red Make America Great Again caps from the Trump campaign and black and yellow Fred Perry polo shirts. The clothing brand withdrew that specific design from sale in North America this week because it said it does not want to be associated with the Proud Boys.  

Proud Boys members can be identified by an unofficial uniform of red Make America Great Again caps from the Trump campaign and black and yellow Fred Perry polo shirts (seen above during a protest in Oregon on September 26). The clothing brand withdrew that design from sale in North America this week because it said it does not want to be associated with the Proud Boys

Proud Boys members can be identified by an unofficial uniform of red Make America Great Again caps from the Trump campaign and black and yellow Fred Perry polo shirts (seen above during a protest in Oregon on September 26). The clothing brand withdrew that design from sale in North America this week because it said it does not want to be associated with the Proud Boys

NOTABLE INCIDENTS: 

February 2, 2017: McInnes gives a speech at New York University, after which minor brawls break out between Proud Boys members and anti-facist activists, resulting in charges against 11 people. 

April 15, 2017: Proud Boys attend an alt-right rally in Berkeley, California, that was organized by the Liberty Revival Alliance and attended by members of neo-Nazi group Identity Evropa and the Oath Keepers, another right-wing anti-government group. Twenty-one people were arrested after violence broke out between attendees and counter-protesters.  

August 11-12, 2017: Proud Boys member Jason Kessler helped organize the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where counter-protester Heather Heyer was mowed down and killed by white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. McInnes later said that he’d kicked Kessler out of the Proud Boys for his involvement in the rally attended by other members.  

February 2018: Longtime Trump ally Roger Stone allegedly hired the Proud Boys to serve as his security detail at the annual Republican Dorchester Conference in Salem, Oregon. After the event the Proud Boys posted a video claiming that Stone was undergoing ‘low-level initiation’ into the group. 

October 12, 2019: A group of Proud Boys were filmed beating up anti-facists staging a protest against a speech by McInnes in New York City. Two members – Maxwell Hare, 27, and John Kinsman, 40 – were convicted and sentenced to four years in prison for their involvement in that incident. 

June 2020: Proud Boys face off with Black Lives Matter protesters by the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle, Washington.

September 29, 2020: Donald Trump brings up the Proud Boys during his first presidential debate against Joe Biden after moderator Chris Wallace repeatedly asked him to condemn violence by white supremacists and right-wing groups.   ‘Proud Boys, stand back and stand by!’ Trump said. ‘But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left.’ The Proud Boys reacted with joy over the shout out, even adding the phrase ‘Stand Back, Stand By’ to their logo. Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio posted on social media: ‘Standing by sir.’ 

The group has a history of street violence targeting left-wing and anti-fascist activists and protest movements. In the past few months Proud Boys have repeatedly dropped in on Black Lives Matter demonstrations taking place across the country, sparking violent clashes on several occasions. Pictured: A Proud Boy confronts a counter-protester during a rally in Oregon this month

The group has a history of street violence targeting left-wing and anti-fascist activists and protest movements. In the past few months Proud Boys have repeatedly dropped in on Black Lives Matter demonstrations taking place across the country, sparking violent clashes on several occasions. Pictured: A Proud Boy confronts a counter-protester during a rally in Oregon this month

Reporting by Megan Sheets for DailyMail.com 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.