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The President Must Call Out the Proud Boys

Armand Yazdani

Posted on October 3, 2020 18:07

1 user

Despite his recent disavowal of white supremacy, the President ought to take the additional step to condemn the far right Proud Boys.

When U.S President Donald Trump and Presidential Democratic Candidate Joe Biden debated each other last Tuesday, viewers expected contention over barbs thrown. What ensued became a mess. Trump took aim at Biden's son, Hunter, with both candidates quarreling bitterly. At one point, an irked Biden yelled "shut up" to Trump.

However, somewhere in the flurry of insults, the presidential candidates were able to discuss politics. The president slammed "Antifa and the left" for violence in protests, urging the hard-right Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by." Despite pressure to disavow the Proud Boys, the president avoided condemning them and instead focused on Antifa. Although some members of Antifa have caused violence, Trump's failure to condemn the Proud Boys is counterproductive to curbing violence. 

The Proud Boys have a history marred by violence. This was especially evident in Oregon, wherein a far-right demonstrator in a bulletproof vest knocked down a protestor. Later on, the Proud Boys celebrated the attack, posting a video of it saying "Hulk Smash!" Recently, a clip resurfaced of founder Gavin McInnes encouraging violence. McInnes told his backers that violence was "a really effective way to solve problems." When the founder of a group encourages violence, many of the group's members will follow suit. Moreover, the Proud Boys have been contributors to violence in protests. Just last year, two members were arrested for being in a street brawl in New York.  With many members clad in body armor, they clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland, Oregon in late September. Although police stated that there was no serious violence, police started investigating an assault on a man, with a video of the assault emerging. 

Above all, the Proud Boys are an organization espousing highly intolerant views. They are self-described "Western chauvinists," although they reject being linked to the alt right. The Anti Defamation League categorizes the Proud Boys as being an "alt lite" outfit. Despite their disconnection from the alt right, some Proud Boys members have espoused white supremacy, Islamaphobic and anti-Semitic values -- according to the ADL. Additionally, the Southern Poverty Law Centre declared the Proud Boys a hate group. McInnes himself has garnered controversy for statements such as, "it's such a rape culture with these immigrants, I don't even think these women see it as rape." He said in a 2017 NBC interview that "I think it's fair to call me Islamophobic." Bear in mind, that while the founder's views above may sound charged, many of the group's rank and file members may be more radical. 

In failing to specifically condemn the Proud Boys, the President has effectively dismissed the intolerance and violent views they espouse. They've made it clear they're "Western chauvinists" whose intent is to quash the growth of other cultures. The more the President fails to acknowledge the threat that the Proud Boys pose, the more he will allow an abundance of intolerance to flourish.

Armand Yazdani

Posted on October 3, 2020 18:07

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Source: WRAL

The Proud Boys were certainly proud on Tuesday night when their name came up in the debate between Republican President Donald...

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