President Donald Trump clarified his stance regarding the “alt-right” group, “Proud Boys,” on Wednesday, encouraging them to “stand down and let law enforcement do its work.”
What are the details?
The president made the clarification when speaking with reporters in front of the White House. In his remarks, he added that he is not aware of who the Proud Boys are, adding “you’ll have to give me a definition.”
“But whoever they are, they have to stand down and let law enforcement do its work,” he said.
Trump would also go further and say that “everybody” — not just the Proud Boys — but any group that is acting as a militia and preventing law enforcement from doing its work needs to stand down.
The president then pivoted to discussing radical left-wing groups such as Antifa, who he suggested are the “real problem.”
What’s the background?
Trump’s updated remarks came after swift and harsh blowback from liberal media figures and politicians who suggested that he refused to condemn white supremacist groups during Tuesday night’s presidential debate in Cleveland.
During the debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump to condemn white supremacist and militia groups onstage. Trump responded by saying “sure … I want peace” but didn’t specifically utter words of condemnation.
When he prompted Wallace to name a specific group, former Vice President Joe Biden stepped in and shouted, “Proud Boys!”
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump then said.
The comments appeared to be received by members of the Proud Boys as a rallying cry. Several members reportedly took to private social media channels to celebrate what they perceived as a tacit endorsement by the president.
Republican Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) told reporters Wednesday that he believed Trump “misspoke” when he addressed the Proud Boys Tuesday night during the debate.
“White supremacy should be denounced at every turn,” Scott said. “I think the president misspoke, and he needs to correct it. If he doesn’t correct it, I guess he didn’t misspeak.”
Who are the Proud Boys?
According to their website, the Proud Boys call themselves “Western Chauvinists” who believe that the “West Is The Best.” The website lists tenets such as minimal government, maximum freedom, anti-racial guilt, anti-racism, pro-free speech, and pro-gun rights.
The FBI categorizes the Proud Boys as an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism.”
Their presence has become more pronounced in recent months as members of the controversial group have organized counter-protests against left-wing riots in American cities.