By: LILJA NICHOLSON
When Trump was asked to condemn white supremacy at the first presidential debate, he refused to. Instead, he used his time to accuse “antifa and the left” of causing the violence and civil unrest that has recently swept the country. He also told a known far-right group called the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”, which the organization took as an endorsement by the president. Who are the Proud Boys, and what exactly was Trump endorsing?
According to USA Today, “The Proud Boys were founded in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes and described themselves at the time as a politically incorrect men’s club for “Western chauvinists.” Although the current leader of the group, Enrique Tarrio, is Afro-Cuban, the group has ties to white supremacy and white nationalism. The Southern Poverty Law Center website states that “..Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric.” The founder of the organization, Gavin McInnes, said in 2017; “We brought roads and infrastructure to India and they are still using them as toilets. Our criminals built nice roads in Australia but aboriginals keep using them as a bed. The next time someone b—— about colonization, the correct response is “You’re welcome.”” McInnes also stated about women, “Maybe the reason I’m sexist is because women are dumb. No, I’m just kidding, ladies. But you do tend to not thrive in certain areas — like writing.”
Obviously these statements are incredibly problematic, and it is appalling that we have a president that refuses to condemn organizations like these. In dark times like these, our leaders should be focusing on bringing us together as a nation, so that we can emerge from catastrophes such as these stronger than ever. Instead, Trump and the White House administration seem more focused on dividing us. “One Nation, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.” It sure doesn’t seem like that right now.