Who are the Proud Boys?

Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 11:58 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - President Donald Trump said on Wednesday afternoon he is not familiar with an organization called the “Proud Boys" after telling them to “Stand down and stand ready” Tuesday night during a rowdy and rough Presidential debate.

“I don’t know who the Proud Boys are. You have to give me the definition because I don’t really know who they are. I can only say they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work,” Trump said Wednesday.

It’s the fallout from that first presidential face-off and an introduction to the Proud Boys. So who are they and why are the President’s words causing so much concern?

If you lived in place like Portland, Oregon, you would have experienced the Proud Boys in action for months. We don’t see much of them around here, but some are concerned the President may have made a call to action for them Tuesday night.

Tuesday night’s Presidential debate may have been the first time you’ve ever heard the term Proud Boys. The group is pretty new.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Proud Boys are self-described western chauvinists while denying the tag of racist alt-right. According to the center, they spread anti-political correctness and anti-white guilt agenda. The Anti-Defamation League lists their ideology as misogynistic, Islamophobic, and anti-immigration. The ADL says some possess white supremacist values and associate with similar groups.

“They can be understood as a kind of private police force that answers directly to the president,” said Kevin Vallier, Ph. D. of Bowling Green State University’s Department of Philosophy.

Dr. Vallier says it’s hard to pin them down to an exact message except defending the President. He’s studied the Proud Boys over the last few years.

"When the president suggests that ordinary institutions are misfunctioning, like the voting process, the thought is that outside private groups like the Proud Boys would put things right,” said Vallier.

“In many cases there aren’t issues they care about, there aren’t principals. It’s just who they hate that they’re concerned with. It’s who they want to defeat."

Dr. Vailler says that’s far-left groups, like Antifa. As the President was asked to disavow white supremacy Tuesday night this comment was made:

President Donald Trump: “What do you want to call them. Give me a name. Give me a name. Go ahead, who would you like me to condemn?”

Chris Wallace/Moderator: “White Supremacists.”

President Donald Trump: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.”

Doctor Vallier says they may have been purposeful. So what could this mean for the group going forward?

“One reason you might think Trump refused to condemn them was to energize them in the case that a private policing, in his view is required to ensure there isn’t fraudulent voting,” said Dr. Vallier.

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