Trump’s shout out to the Proud Boys did ensure that their efforts in Portland would get a boost. They are an actual organization with actual membership and overlaps with groups going back to the Unite the Right event in Charlottesville. Twitter now features a disinformation campaign to disassociate members like Alan Swinney, arrested today on numerous violence charges.
Within minutes of President Trump's mention of them during Tuesday's debate, members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group that has endorsed violence, were celebrating online, calling his comments “historic.” Some claimed to see a spike in “new recruits.” https://t.co/SLAEjcUxF1
Far-right groups celebrated on social media after President Trump responded to a debate question about white supremacists by saying that theextremist Proud Boys, a male-only group known for itspenchant for street violence, should “stand back and stand by.”
Starting Tuesday night and continuing Wednesday, the comments got enshrined in memes, including one depicting Trump in one of the Proud Boys’ signature polo shirts. Another meme showed Trump’s quote alongside an image of bearded men carrying American flags and appearing to prepare for a fight. A third incorporated “STAND BACK AND STAND BY” into the group’s logo.
These and other laudatory images spread with particular speed on the conservative social media siteParlerand also channels on the encrypted chat app Telegram, according to researchers. One prominent Proud Boys supporter on Parler said Trump appeared to give permission for attacks on protesters, adding that “this makes me so happy.”
It also found that Telegram channels devoted to neo-Nazis and white supremacists portrayed Trump’s comments as signals of support for them. TheProud Boysdispute characterizations of them as white supremacists, but their actions often are touted by white supremacists and others on far-right political fringes.
“He legitimized them in a way that nobody in the community expected. It’s unbelievable. The celebration is incredible,” said Rita Katz, executive director of SITE. “In my 20 years of tracking terrorism and extremism, I never thought I’d see anything like this from a U.S. president.”
Having learned that they can gaslight the nation by lying about Donald Trump's consistent refusal to condemn white supremacy, conservatives are already deploying their tactics from Charlottesville on last night's debate https://t.co/RGrMI93VbU
JFK: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
Donald Trump: “Don't ever use the word smart with me.”
Chris had a tough night. Two on one was not surprising, but fun. Many important points made, like throwing Bernie, AOC PLUS 3, and the rest, to the wolves! Radical Left is dumping Sleepy Joe. Zero Democrat enthusiasm, WEAK Leadership! https://t.co/BGbPVHau3M— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2020
CNN Fact Checker Daniel Dale Calls Trump's Debate Performance 'An Avalanche Of Lying'