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Who Are The Proud Boys That Trump Told To 'Stand By'?

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When asked to condemn white supremacy during his debate with Joe Biden, President Trump a group called the Proud Boys to "stand by and stand down." 

Who are the Proud Boys? 

Members of this far-right group have celebrated Donald Trump’s shoutout as a signal of approval after Trump refused to condemn their white supremacist ideology. The FBI classified this male-only organization founded as an ‘extremist group’ in 2016 and we’re curious to know more about their beliefs, characteristics, and ties to Trump. 

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The Proud Boys have ambiguous beliefs. 

Members of this extreme group are pro-gun rights, against feminism and gender equality, and take a more libertarian stance on issues like welfare.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Proud Boys’ beliefs indicate they are a hate group. Similarly, The Anti-Defamation League describes the group as Islamophobic, misogynistic, transphobic, and anti-immigration. 

Despite these claims and definitions set by other groups, the Proud Boys claim that they are not a racist group, but they do want to uphold their traditional ‘western’ values, which are inspired by the “white genocide” conspiracy theory.

When gathered for rallies or protests, the Proud Boys claim they are there just to “have some beers with the boys” despite their violent aesthetics. Their “protective gear” includes wearing bulletproof vests, holding shields, and even holding bats or other weapons. 

We’re not sure if what they claim to believe and how they practice their beliefs are in accordance, but one thing for sure is that they have a clear record of street violence. 

There are three degrees of membership in becoming a Proud Boy.

In order to become a member of this extreme organization, members reportedly must swear allegiance and an oath that, “I am a proud western chauvinist, I refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.”

This oath welcomes prospective members into the first degree of membership.

In order to achieve the second degree of membership, members must demonstrate “adrenaline control” through enduring a harsh beating until they can name five breakfast cereals and also give up masturbation. The second requirement for this degree is so the men are more inclined to go out and meet women.

The last degree of membership in the Proud Boys demonstrates true allegiance and commitment by getting a Proud Boys tattoo.

This ‘Pro-West fraternal organization’ seems to take their membership quite seriously, and although they allow men of all races and sexual orientation to join, members must all “recognize that white men are not the problem.”

They're Trump supporters. 

The Proud Boys only allow males, and they can easily be spotted by their uniform of red ‘Make America Great Again’ caps and black and yellow Fred Perry Polo shirts. This popular dress attire of the Proud Boys highlights their fervent support for President Trump.

Trump commented on the group during the presidential debate: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by! But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something with Antifa and the left.” 

Because of their extremist and violence-promoting nature, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube have all banned the Proud Boys from their platforms.  

Proud Boys’ leader Enrique Tarrio still went ahead on an alternative discussion network called Parler saying: “Proud Boys!!!!!!! I will stand down sir!!!” in celebration of Trump’s comment.

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Gavin McInnes founded The Proud Boys.

Gavin McInnes is the co-founder of VICE Media and the founder of the Proud Boys. McInnes is famous for his controversial promotion of violence against political opponents on the far-left wing and his incendiary political statements. 

He started this organization with the support of group gatherings in New York City dive bars of like-minded men back in 2016.

Here are some of McInnes’ words that exemplify the Proud Boys sentiment:

"It’s such a rape culture with these immigrants, I don’t even think these women see it as rape. They see it as just like having a teeth [sic] pulled. ‘It’s a Monday. I don’t really enjoy it,’ but that’s what you do. I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t have the same trauma as it would for a middle-class white girl in the suburbs because it’s so entrenched into their culture.” — Gavin McInnes, Get Off My Lawn, June 19, 2018

"Muslims have a problem with inbreeding. They tend to marry their first cousins…and that is a major problem here because when you have mentally damaged inbreds — which not all Muslims are, but a disproportionate number are — and you have a hate book called the Koran…you end up with a perfect recipe for mass murder." — Gavin McInnes, Get Off My Lawn, April 24, 2018

Since the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville in August 2017, McInnes has tried to distance himself from the Proud Boys. 

During this rally, attendees included members of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-nazi groups, as well as white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr., who drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters and killed an innocent woman.

Now, the leader of the Proud Boys is Enrique Tarrio, who also serves as the Florida director of Latinos for Trump. 

Are The Proud Boys held responsible for their violence? 

The Proud Boys’ clear record of street violence proves to emphasize their true beliefs and actions. 

In more recent news, four people who were injured during the violent Portland, Oregon protests outside the Justice Center are seeking $1.25 million in damages

All of the plaintiffs claim they were assaulted by the Proud Boys with bear mace, shot with paintball guns, or hurt with an explosive device. 

According to the Proud Boys International Chairman, Enrique Tarrio, “I think it’s funny that they’re trying to do something and that they named my organization in a lawsuit. So I might have to take some legal action myself because I don’t know those four people, I don’t know what they did.”

Tarrio claims he does not personally know the four plaintiffs or what they have to do with his organization, but the plaintiffs claim that they only want to hold people accountable for their actions. 

The ones suing are asking for damages, but according to one of the plaintiffs, Albert Lee, “I hope this will prevent or deter folks from bringing weapons. It’s okay to express your opinion, it’s okay to express whatever you believe that’s our rights as Americans, but it’s not your right to assault others.”

Despite this million-dollar lawsuit, Enrique Tarrio stands his ground that the men named in the lawsuit are not a part of his group.

In the last two years, the Proud Boys have been fighting on the streets of Oregon, New York and Washington against Antifa. Last year in New York, two Proud Boys members were jailed for beating up Antifa activists.

Although the Proud Boys numbers are relatively small (only a few thousand), their penchant for violence and hate speech is more than enough to make them a hot topic among America’s streets.

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Rachell Lee is a writer who covers relationships, entertainment and news, and personal development topics.