Proud Boys—and Craven Republicans—Stand By Trump

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Even for Donald Trump, it was a surreal moment last night when he refused to condemn violent white supremacist and militia groups. “Give me a name,” he demanded. “The Proud Boys,” Joe Biden answered. But instead of condemning them, Trump gave them a big boost: “Proud Boys—stand back and stand by.” It was an obvious call to rally these agitators, who have assaulted people in the streets from New York City to Portland, for possible post-election violence, and they couldn’t have been happier about it:

Within minutes, members of the group were posting in private social media channels, calling the president’s comments “historic.” In one channel dedicated to the Proud Boys on Telegram, a private messaging app, group members called the president’s comment a tacit endorsement of their violent tactics. In another message, a member commented that the group was already seeing a spike in “new recruits.”

It’s now been 12 hours since the debate, and so far Republicans seem to be either staying quiet about this or trying to twist Trump’s words to make them sound harmless. “I heard it differently,” said Chris Christie. And with that, a party that has shamed itself for the past four years falls even further into the abyss.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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