- Originally published, September 30, 2020, at 11:27 am.
- September 30, 6:46 pm:
- At New York Magazine, Zak Cheney-Rice adds his own take on Donald Trump’s failure to condemn white supremacism, laying out the reasoning for seeing Trump as having effectively confirmed he is a white supremacist. Steve Bannon, for example, would be an entirely different story, but I guess I’m still inclined to view Trump as too much an idiot and as too much a delusional raging narcissist to attribute even the repugnant quality of thinking that I think most observers, including Cheney-Rice, do. I just don’t think he’s that bright: He just sees the Proud Boys as his supporters; I think that’s where it begins and ends with him.
Following a televised debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden last night, it is now even more difficult to dismiss the fear of violence should Trump appear to lose the election:
President Donald Trump thrilled members of the violent far-right gang known as the Proud Boys on Tuesday when he responded to a question from debate moderator Chris Wallace, about whether he would be willing to tell white supremacists and militia groups that support him to stand down, by instead telling that group to “stand back and stand by.”
Chris Wallace: “Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups…?”
President Trump: “Sure, I’m willing to do that…Proud Boys, stand back and stand by! But I’ll tell you what…somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left.” pic.twitter.com/9gJ8qyO4hL
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 30, 2020
While the president’s reply struck some observers as more evidence of his inability to stem the torrent of half-digested thoughts and phrases that fly from his lips in an incoherent jumble, leaders of the neo-fascist group exulted on the social media platforms Telegram and Parler, seeing the answer as a call to inflict violence on left-wing antifascist activists and protesters.
“Trump basically said to go fuck them up! this makes me so happy,” Joe Biggs, who organized a Proud Boys rally that drew an embarrassingly small crowd of a few hundred in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, wrote. Biggs had reason to be encouraged, since Trump did stop short of actually condemning the group, pivoting instead to say: “But I’ll tell you what, 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.”
While I would be inclined toward the “inability to stem the torrent of half-digested thoughts and phrases that fly from his lips in an incoherent jumble” reading, the Proud Boys, a white supremacist militia group, clearly seem to be taking it as an endorsement.
Zak Cheney-Rice, “We Can Probably Stop Asking Trump If He’s a White Supremacist,” New York, September 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/09/trump-tells-proud-boys-to-stand-by-still-white-supremacist.html
Robert Mackey, “Neo-Fascist Proud Boys Exult Over Trump Telling Them to ‘Stand By,’ Not Stand Down,” Intercept, September 30, 2020, https://theintercept.com/2020/09/30/neo-fascist-proud-boys-exult-trump-telling-stand-not-stand/
- Zak Cheney-Rice, “We Can Probably Stop Asking Trump If He’s a White Supremacist,” New York, September 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/09/trump-tells-proud-boys-to-stand-by-still-white-supremacist.html↩
- David Benfell, “The very scary way to four more years,” Not Housebroken, September 26, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/25/the-very-scary-way-to-four-more-years/↩
- Robert Mackey, “Neo-Fascist Proud Boys Exult Over Trump Telling Them to ‘Stand By,’ Not Stand Down,” Intercept, September 30, 2020, https://theintercept.com/2020/09/30/neo-fascist-proud-boys-exult-trump-telling-stand-not-stand/↩