Donald Trump. Photo: Gage Skidmore
On Wednesday President Donald Trump was telling reporters outside the White House lawn that he didn’t know who Proud Boys were, the far-right, male-only, neo-fascist group that promotes political violence. It’s the same game he played during his 2016 election run when he was confronted about his failure to reject an endorsement by David Duke, the KKK leader. He claimed he didn’t know who David Duke was or “white supremacy.”
Tuesday night during the Presidential Debate when Trump wouldn’t immediately denounce right wing racist groups when moderator and FOX News host Chris Wallace gave him the opportunity. When Wallace pressed him, and specifically mentioned Proud Boys, Trump uttered his ugly command of incitement: “Stand back, and stand by.”
Stand by for what?
Given the context, and the setting—during the debate Trump made it clear that he wasn’t obligated to accept the outcome of the November presidential vote and kept wailing about about alleged ongoing voter fraud due to mail in votes–it was clear that this dangerous president was signaling to the extremist groups to be on stand by for his call.
Here are some of the reactions to Trump’s treasonous and anti-democratic comments:
A statement from the Congressional Black Caucus, in part read, “… President Trump chose to incite racial violence and division in our country by supporting White supremacist groups like Proud Boys. At a time when democratic backsliding is being experienced in different parts of the world, what we witnessed from the President was an embarrassment to the democratic principles we embody as a nation and encourage others to demonstrate. We need a leader who will unite our country during this time and not divide it.”
Senator Bernie Sanders said, “You have a president who is in fact a racist and has been using race for a very, very long time in trying to divide the American people up. And he is not only a racist he is a xenophobe. God knows the kinds of ugly attacks he had made on the Latino community. He is a religious bigot and this is who we have as president of the United States right now.”
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York), tweeted: “White supremacy is not ok.”
The New York City Comptroller and Mayoral Candidate, Scott Stringer, said, “Donald Trump won’t condemn white supremacists—because he is one. His cowardice in the White House is an active danger to people of color and all Americans. He is a racist bully and a global embarrassment whose tenure cannot end soon enough.”
William Darity Jr., an economist, Duke University professor and co-author of the best-selling From Here to Equality—Reparations For Black Americans In The Twenty-First Century, said, “In the event that anyone still possessed any lingering doubt, Donald Trump firmly confirmed his white supremacist sympathies and credentials last night. This is tragic leadership under circumstances when a majority of Americans finally appear ready to come to grips with our nation’s long trajectory of racial injustice.”
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law issued a statement that in part read, “During a time when Black people nationwide are exercising their rights to protest police violence and contending with rising levels of racial violence, President Donald Trump used his debate platform to embolden white supremacists by refusing to disavow their activity and by issuing a directive to Proud Boys to ‘stand by.’ Even the FBI has identified white supremacy as one of the greatest domestic threats that we face today. The president’s silence and acquiescence present a clear and present danger to Black people, who are most frequently targeted by incidents of hate. We are also deeply concerned by President Trump’s persistent attack on mail balloting and his efforts to activate poll watchers in certain communities like Philadelphia. Attacks on mail balloting seek to undermine the public’s confidence in on method of voting that is safe, secure and necessary amid the pandemic. Efforts to deploy poll watchers to areas that are home to large number of Black and brown voters are nothing more than thinly veiled attempts to intimidate and discourage turnout among voters of color.”
Scott Simpson, Muslim Advocates Public Advocacy Director, said, “It’s not surprising that President Trump refused to denounce violent, anti-Muslim white nationalists and instead used a globally-televised presidential debate to acknowledge and legitimize the Proud Boys. Time and time again, the president has excused, defended and even hired white nationalists and anti-Muslim bigots. His ongoing, open embrace of violent white nationalists and hate groups threatens the security of the election and puts Muslims and all communities of color in grave danger.”