When the name of the Proud Boys popped up during the debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on Tuesday, the far-right, all-male nationalist small group did not wait a minute to celebrate its joy on social media.
Called on by Fox News reporter and debate moderator Chris Wallace to condemn white supremacists, Donald Trump hesitated before responding: “OK Proud Boys, step back and get ready.”
The group immediately adopted the slogan, posting a logo on social networks with the words “indented, pending”.
Ready to fight
The organization was founded in New York in 2016 by the magazine’s co-founder Vice, Gavin McInnes, who has since left the movement.
The Proud Boys describe themselves as “Western chauvinists” who “refuse to apologize for creating the modern world”.
Among the values defended by the group: the closing of borders, the right to firearms and the veneration of the housewife.
They have become essential during political and anti-racist protests across the United States. They show up there with sticks or guns, ready to fight against their “far left enemies”, they say.
Donald Trump’s statement during the debate visibly delighted members of the organization. “What the president said was that we could go after the enemies of the group,” Joe Biggs, one of the leaders of the Proud Boys, wrote on Twitter.
Yesterday, returning to his ambiguous words of the day before, the American president called on the far-right militias to “let the police do their job”, adding that he “did not know who the Proud Boys were”.
Rafael Jacob, a specialist in American politics and researcher associated with the Raoul-Dandurand chair at UQAM, doubts the credibility of this retraction.
“In 2016, we had the same kind of controversy almost modeled on what happened this week,” says the expert.
On the CNN set, a reporter asked him to disown the Ku Klux Klan and its former leader, David Duke.
“He dodged the question then,” continues Mr. Jacob. The next day, Trump had claimed a headset problem and hadn’t heard correctly. “