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When given the opportunity to clearly condemn white supremacy and militia groups the President of the United States instead responded, “Proud Boys — stand back and stand by.”

Members of the far-right group celebrated their mention on the presidential debate stage. 

Joe Biggs, one of the Proud Boys leaders that was present in Portland on Saturday, interpreted Trump’s remarks as permission to “fuck” up the group’s foes. Others posted in private social media channels: some called the president’s comments “historic”, others claimed a spike in “new recruits” and merchandise with a logo quoting the president is circulating the internet, available for sale.

Known as a dog whistle, this type of rhetoric is often considered a tacit endorsement. The failure of the President to clearly condemn white supremacy and his choice of words is generally understood as a subtle nod to the group and their supporters.  

The Proud Boys describe themselves as “a pro-Western fraternal organization for men”; the group has openly endorsed violence and has been tied to several violent incidents at recent protests.  

This morning Portland authorities arrested Alan Swinney (pictured below with a revolver brandished during last months rally), a prominent member of the “Proud Boys” following the groups rally in Portland last month.  He faces a dozen charges, including assault, unlawful use of weapon, and menacing.

On Saturday several hundred people attended a Proud Boys rally at Delta Park in Portland, Oregon. Publicized for weeks the event was expected to draw thousands but the crowd numbered far less—an estimated 200-300 people were in attendance. Organizers led the crowd in prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance before several speakers took the stage to give speeches and ask for finacial support. Some attendees wore tactical gear and carried handguns and paintball guns while others wore Trump apparel and carried “thin blue line” flags. At least one person was assaulted and kicked in the head while on the ground and several members of the Press were harassed and accused of being “antifa”. Several people were forced to leave the rally by Proud Boys “security”. Other far-right groups such as “American Wolf” and the “Three Percenters” were also in attendance.

Less than a mile away several hundred people gathered in support of “Black Lives Matter” and listened to organizers speak about Black history and and the history of racism in Portland. 

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Copyright © 2020 Maranie R. Staab, All rights reserved.
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