Members of Far-right group Proud Boys responded to President Donald Trump's "stand back" and "stand by" statement saying they were "ready" to take charge against anti-fascists, also known as Antifa. The response came on Parler app — a Twitter-like application that is popular among conspiracy theorists and far-right groups that have been banned from mainstream social media.
Trump's order to Proud Boys came during the first presidential debate on Tuesday. Fox News host and the debate moderator Chris Wallace asked the president whether he would condemn white supremacists and militia groups that were involved in recent protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The city witnessed far-right militia members on the streets with weapons and Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen who was charged for allegedly shooting two people during the protests, identified himself as a militia member. While Trump did not denounce the white supremacists and militia groups, he shifted the blame on the Left.
"Proud Boys, stand back and stand by! But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about Antifa and the Left. ... This is a Left-wing problem, not a Right-wing problem," Trump said at the debate.
Proud Boys leader Joe Biggs celebrated Trump's shoutout to the group. He wrote on Parler saying his group was "ready" to deal with Antifa.
"President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA...well sir! we're ready!!," he wrote.
Biggs made headlines in August for organizing a rally in Portland, Oregon, triggering concern among local law enforcement officials about possible violence in the city. The Proud Boys leader maintained that Antifa hid behind masks and carried out violence in Portland.
Enrique Tarrio, Proud Boys national chairman, said the group will abide by the president's order. "I will stand down sir!!! ... Standing by sir. So Proud of my guys right now," Tarrio wrote.
Trump's "stand back, stand by" statement was met with shock on surprise on Twitter. While some condemned the president for his apparent support to Proud Boys, others noted his statement boosted the group's image.