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OPINION

Everything You Need to Know About the Proud Boys, the Hate Group Trump Told to ‘Stand Back and Stand By’

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Analysis 

The question should’ve been an easy one. At the first debate ​between the major-party presidential candidates Tuesday night​, Fox News host Chris Wallace asked President Donald Trump whether he would denounce white supremacists; instead of offering an unequivocal “No,” Trump told the Proud Boys hate group to “stand back and stand by.”

The Proud Boys, an organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has a long history of violence, hateful rhetoric, and coziness with GOP stars and operatives, most notably Trump confidant, Republican fixer, and convicted felon Roger Stone. The group, founded by Canadian media personality Gavin McInnes and currently led by Enrique Tarrio, held a ​Sept. 26 rally in Portland, Oregon, prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency. Although the rally attracted far fewer attendees than anticipated, the event was spun by Tarrio with expressions of pride in having not incited violence—an effort to make their group more palatable. The group is, of course, better known for its members’ attendance at the 2017 Unite the Right white supremacist gathering ​in​ Charlottesville, Virginia, in which counterprotester Heather Heyer was murdered by a white supremacist.

At Tuesday’s debate, which devolved into chaos with Trump interrupting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at every turn, Wallace turned to a question about race, policing, and riots, and challenged the president to condemn white supremacist and militia groups.

“You have repeatedly criticized the vice president for not specifically calling out antifa and other extremist groups,” Wallace said. “Are you willing to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and say they need to stand down and not to add to the violence in these cities as we saw in Kenosha and in Portland?”

“Give me a name,” Trump said, to which Biden called out “Proud Boys.”

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, 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,” Trump said.

Different subgroups of the ​extreme right have fear-mongered about socialism, antifa (short-hand for anti-fascist demonstrators), baseless warnings of a “rigged” election and either called for violence or hinted at it—from radical right-wing commentator Josh Bernstein calling for Ilhan Omar to be executed for alleged ballot harvesting (for which there’s no verifiable evidence), to right-wing pastor Rick Joyner calling on military veterans to head up Christian militias to fight against the “tyranny of Marxism.”

So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that the president who said that there were “very fine people on both sides” of a 2017 white supremacist ​melee would call on a hate group to “stand by” and wait to be called on in the same debate he fear-mongered about anti-fascist activists, ballot harvesting, and unfounded claims of mail carriers selling ballots and dumping them into a river.

On ​the social media platform Telegram, the hate group took Trump’s comments as marching orders.

“Standing by sir,” Tarrio wrote.

“Trump basically said to go fuck them up! ​this makes me so happy,” wrote Joe Biggs, a ​Proud Boys leade​r. “President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA…well sir! we’re ready!”

Before the end of the night, the self-described “western chauvinist” group had shared an image with the president’s words as a slogan around their logo.

The Proud Boys are well-known for showing up at events for left-wing causes, where they often attempt to escalate and incite violence.

And though the group claims no connection to the racist “alt-right,” Proud Boys ​founder McInnes (who abandoned the group in 2018 ​after its members assaulted people who protested a McInnes speech to the New York Metropolitan Republican Club), seems to have an affinity for Nazis. On McInnes’ web broadcast program CRTV, he has hosted countless white supremacists and bigots in favorable contexts.

In 2018, he told listeners ​to his web broadcast show that he believed it should be considered a hate crime if a person is called a “Nazi” while they are being hit. Earlier that year, Right Wing Watch’s Jared Holt reported that in 2016, McInnes said, “I want violence. I want punching in the face. I’m disappointed in Trump supporters for not punching enough [protesters].”

As Holt reported then, “The qualifier for the highest rank of Proud Boy—known as the ‘Fourth Degree’—necessitates entering a physical conflict for their cause. Members of the Proud Boys havejoked about wanting to shoot and kill ‘antifa.’”

Now the group is emboldened by the incumbent president, who refuses to say whether, should he lose the election, he will respect the Constitution’s prescription for a peaceful transfer of power.

This article was originally published at Right Wing Watch and is reprinted here by permission.

Image via Shutterstock

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OPINION

Don Jr. Suggests Trump’s New Social Media Site Was Created to Help Republicans Win Elections

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Donald Trump, Jr. is appearing to suggest his father’s new social media platform, Truth Social, was created to help Republicans win elections.

Appearing on far right host Sebastian Gorka’s Newsmax show that aired Sunday, Trump Jr. was asked in a segment about the new social media site what his “specific message” is “to those who had just kind of given up on the idea of America and free and fair elections.”

Trump Jr. did not hesitate.

“Let’s stay in the game,” he replied, after discussing Truth Social for several minutes and urging viewers to join. “I mean, you know, these are all steps that we’re taking to make sure that we can level that playing field, the playing field has been so biased for so long, right?” he claimed.

“We’ve been playing T ball while the other side has been playing hardball and doing whatever it takes,” Trump Jr. said, despite some Republicans working to overturn the free and fair 2020 presidential election.

“You know, Donald Trump opened the door for conservatives to start pushing back, to play the game the way the other side has done it. We need to keep doing that, we need to stay in this game. They would love for us just to tuck tail to run to turn the other cheek to be dejected, to take our ball and go home. We can’t allow that to happen, we have to stay in the game we have to stay involved we have to be vocal and we have to be unafraid.”

And even though Facebook was formed in 2004, Twitter in 2006, Microsoft in 1980, and Apple in 1976,  he also seemed to suggest that “Big Tech” or social media platforms have been working against Republicans for 50 years.

“And if we do that and you look at what’s going on right now with the insanity of this administration and all of the leftist agenda, you realize, Americans are waking up. It’s about time, but they’re finally doing it and we’re actually able to put up a front against a huge, huge platform that has been working against us, for half a century.”

Watch:

 

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OPINION

COVID Disinformation Purveyor Sen. Ron Johnson Urges FDA to Not Grant Full Approval to Coronavirus Vaccine

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Senator Ron Johnson has written a letter to the FDA criticizing the Biden Administration for “rushing the approval process” for political reasons, reports the conservative Washington Times.

Johnson has repeatedly earned his “Ron Anon” nickname throughout the pandemic as an opponent of vaccines (while denying he’s an anti-vaxxer) and other COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The most recent spike in cases and deaths caused by the Delta variant haven’t slowed his roll.

The Washington Times reported on the contents of his letter, which it said it had obtained exclusively:

“The Wisconsin Republican warned against the Food and Drug Administration’s pending approval of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, which is expected Monday.

“He said the fast-track decision appeared more political than scientific since it skipped the usual formal advisory committee meeting and did not fully account for the reports of deaths and disabilities suffered by people after being vaccinated.

“‘I see no need to rush the FDA approval process for any of the three COVID-19 vaccines. Expediting the process appears to only serve the political purpose of imposing and enforcing vaccine mandates.'”

In the letter, Johnson also charged that “over the last year and a half, the decisions of federal health agencies have dramatically affected the lives of all Americans. The impact of these decisions has been felt in Americans’ treatment options, employment, schools, housing and travel, and in countless other ways. The human toll of the social restrictions and economic devastation is incalculable.”

The Washington Times did report this from the Biden administration:

“U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told “Fox News Sunday” that moving the Pfizer vaccine from “emergency” to “full approval” would make mandates more appealing.” There are universities and businesses that have been considering putting in vaccine requirements in order to create a safer, a workplace, a learning environment,” he said. “I think this announcement from the FDA would likely encourage them and make them feel more comfortable in putting some requirements in place.”

Johnson’s stature as a de facto spokesperson for the virus has long been documented. Last month, Washington Post fact checkers gave Johnson four Pinocchios for his campaign of vaccine misinformation. It quoted this bizarre claim from Johnson in a July 14 interview on Fox News’ “Hannity.”

The fact of the matter is it looks like natural immunity is as strong if not stronger than vaccinated immunity. … There is a risk to the vaccine. Again, it’s very small, but there are some pretty serious side effects, including death. We are already over 5,200 deaths reported on the VAERS system. That’s a CDC, FDA’s early warning system.”

“Johnson has emerged as the leading vaccine skeptic in Congress this year,” the Post reported. “For months, the senator has been peddling misinformation about coronavirus vaccines, undeterred by fact checkers, federal health agencies, medical experts and a growing body of scientific research. We previously dug into two Johnson claims that resurfaced in this interview on Fox News, a network whose right-wing personalities consistently bash the Biden administration’s vaccination efforts.

A month earlier, in June, there was this from CNN: “YouTube suspended Johnson’s account after it posted a video of the senator making dubious claims about treatments for the coronavirus. In the video, Johnson voiced support for using hydroxychloroquine against the virus, the same drug Donald Trump enthusiastically endorsed and used as a preventative treatment for coronavirus last year.”

It has all been part of a pandemic-long quest for Johnson to stoke support from the Trump base. Among his most notable strange moments, Johnson brought forth a parade of dubious doctors at a December Senate hearing on the pandemic for the purpose of “elevating fringe theories,” in the polite words of the New York Times. Johnson was so repulsive that he even bridged the partisan divide on the subject. Here’s more from newspaper:

“Mr. Johnson’s inflammatory public statements and his decision to give a platform to an assortment of contrarian doctors promoting alternative treatments have also irked some fellow Republicans, who have privately groused that he is acting irresponsibly.”

 

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OPINION

‘#TrumpIsALaughingStock’ Trends as Americans Mock Right Wingers’ Belief Today Would Be #TrumpReinstatement Day

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According to the QAnon crowd, the far right fanatics, the MyPillow cultists, and MAGA maniacs, August 13 is the day Donald Trump would be “reinstated” as president. And while the day is not over yet, there is exactly zero chance “the former guy” is going to be back in the White House any time soon.

“The morning of August 13 it’ll be the talk of the world,” MyPillow CEO and election fraud conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell has claimed.

Americans will not see a shadow “cabinet” or anyone else declaring “martial law” and bringing Donald Trump back into power. There will be no Supreme Court decision kicking President Joe Biden to the curb. And Democrats will not be rounded up as “traitors” and jailed – or worse.

Instead, many Americans will have – and already are having – a field day reveling in mocking the insanity that has come to represent the Republican Party, as #TrumpIsALaughingStock, #TrumpReinstatement, and other amusing hashtags trend on social media.

Trump’s spokesperson, still allowed to tweet out his press releases, posted one on Friday that appeared to acknowledge the conspiracy theory he would be reinstated. After blasting President Joe Biden, it asks, “DO YOU MISS ME YET?”

For many the answer is “no.”

Here are some of the best takes:

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