The far-right group Proud Boys celebrated on Tuesday night (Sept. 29) after being mentioned during the first presidential debate. Moderator Chris Wallace asked incumbent Donald Trump if he was wiling to condemn white supremacy in his debate against Joe Biden.
“Are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists, militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in these cites, as we saw in Kenosha and as we’ve seen in Portland?” Wallace posed to Trump.
“Sure, I’m willing to do that,” he answered. “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.”
Wallace pushed for an outright answer and asked Trump to explicitly condemn white supremacists.
“Who do you want me to name?” asked Trump.
“Proud Boys,” offered Joe Biden.
“Proud Boys: stand back and stand by,” Trump said. “But, I’ll tell you what, somebody’s gotta do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right wing problem; this is a left wing problem.”
On Twitter, the Proud Boys — which the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed a hate group — quickly turned Trump’s “stand back and stand by” into a new slogan. New York Times correspondent Mike Baker shared the group’s new logo on Twitter, as well as some enthusiastic reactions from Proud Boy members online.
“Trump basically said to go fu*k them up! this makes me so happy,” one Proud Boy wrote. “President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA… well sir! we’re ready!! Proud Boys Shout at the Presidential Debate!”
“Standing by sir,” another supposed member of the group wrote.
The Proud Boys have been tied to multiple violent rallies and are known to show up as counter protesters at Black Lives Matter or anti-Trump demonstrations. The group defines itself as “a pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world; aka Western Chauvinists.”
Biden retweeted the Proud Boys’ new Trump-adopted slogan, writing, “This. This is Donald Trump’s America.”
Though Trump did not label the Proud Boys as white supremacists, he did condemn Antifa as “a radical group.” However, Biden countered this by saying, “Antifa is an idea, not an organization,” which the FBI director confirmed earlier this month.
“Oh, you’ve gotta be kidding me,” Trump replied, telling Biden, “they’ll overthrow you in two seconds.”
See the Proud Boys’ slogan and online comments and a clip from the debate below.