We hope Americans are as tired as we are of hearing the race-baiting, dog-whistling president of the United States yet again enable the worst elements of our society.
Trump’s latest subtle but certain racism came in front of 73 million Americans in the Tuesday debate where he was asked by Fox News moderator Chris Wallace if he will condemn white supremacist groups. Trump started with “sure” but then asked for a name, and when former Vice President Joe Biden suggested “Proud Boys,” Trump said: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.”
Trump walked back the statement the next day, saying he didn’t know who the Proud Boys were but they should “stand down.”
We suspect Trump walked back the statement at the behest of the Republican Party and other Republicans up for election. Even GOP commentators on CNN could only shake their heads at Trump’s “stand by” statement.
Proud Boys is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group based in Montgomery, Alabama. Proud Boys members espouse a male superiority, a white superiority and their leader has said he is Islamophobic and transphobic.
The group’s bloody street attacks against protesters have been documented from Portland, Oregon, to New York. Their leader Gavin McInnes has said immigrants have a “rape culture,” that Muslims are “mentally damaged inbreds” and Palestinians and Muslims are “dumb” and the only thing they respect is “violence.” His misogyny came through in some of his other rantings when he wrote “through trial and error, I learned that women want to be downright abused.”
As a result of Trump’s “stand back and stand by” directions, some 5,000 Proud Boys took to social media and posted the “Stand Back” and “Stand By” message on websites next to the group’s logo.
The group’s penchant for violence is frightening. Members must “beat up” someone to earn the highest degree of membership. It doesn’t sound like they’ll be “standing back” or “standing down” anytime soon.
Trump has very rarely outright condemned any white supremacist or extremist organization and has only done so when pressed. He can walk back his debate comments on the Proud Boys all he wants, but the group won’t forget his not so subtle support.
We can take away two things from Trump’s enabling of extremist groups. He is either clueless about who these groups really are, or he knows who they are and doesn’t mind that they support him.
It’s time for Trump and his supporters to reject this racism and hate mongering.