Who are the Proud Boys? Trump facing backlash after debate comments
SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- No matter who you think won or lost the debate one striking moment, came when moderator Chris Wallace asked President Donald Trump to condemn white supremacists.
Chris Wallace/Moderator: "Are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups to say they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha and as we've seen in Portland? Are you prepared to specifically do that? Go ahead."
President Donald Trump: "I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not from the right-wing."
Chris Wallace/Moderator: "So what are you saying?"
President Donald Trump: "I'm willing to do anything. I want to see peace."
Chris Wallace/Moderator: "Then do it, sir."
President Donald Trump: "What do you want to call them. Give me a name. Give me a name. Go ahead, who would you like me to condemn?"
Chris Wallace/Moderator: "White Supremacists."
President Donald Trump: "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about Antifa and the left. Because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem."
So just who are the "Proud Boys" and what do they stand for? And why is the President giving them a shout out during a nationally televised debate?
The group was founded back in 2016 by a self-described Islamaphobe who is known for constant racist, sexist and xenophobic comments, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The group recently embraced political violence against Black Lives Matter protesters in Oregon.
They also marched in Kalamazoo, Michigan back in August, clashing with Black Lives Matter protesters there too.
And it seems like that kind of violence could continue based on the Proud Boys' response to the President.
The New York Times reports that a prominent Proud Boys organizer said, "Trump basically said to go 'f' them up! This makes me so happy.”
The group even redesigned its logo to include the President’s words and they're selling the design on a new t-shirt.
We asked some Michiana residents what they think about how the President gave a shout out to the hate group.
“You know, I feel like we are at this point where I shouldn’t be shocked, yet I still am, every time,” Tori Sullivan said, a local voter. “And it just makes me hurt, it makes me hurt for those marginalized communities and those who are threatened by that rhetoric.”
Nick Logan “It seemed like he talked his way out of answering that question or making any stance on it, which is not something I want to see in a president.”
Republican Senate Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says the President did indeed condemn white supremacists when asked.
"When I watched the debate, I listened to the question by Mr. Wallace. And when he was asking the question, if you listen to it, you heard what the president says, he asked, would you denounce it? What'd the president say? Yes, yes, I will.” McCarthy said.
Proud Boys members have since called President Trump's comments "historic."
Vice President Biden has said the President has "refused to disavow white supremacists."