A claim made by far-right group Proud Boys' leader that he was invited to the White House has found to be fake. Enrique Tarrio posted photos of the White House on social media on Saturday claiming he received a "last minute invite" to visit the President's official residence and workplace.
Tarrio took to Parler — a Twitter-like application popular among far-right activists and conspiracy theorists — to say that he was "in awe" that got a "last minute invite to an undisclosed location." He shared a photo of the North Portico of the White House along with the post.
Tarrio later shared a White House photo that appeared to have been taken during the visit. He wrote: "Never thought I'd be here."
However, Tarrio's claim of being invited to the White House was shot down by the White House spokesman Judd Deere. He said that the Proud Boys leader was on a public tour to the executive mansion.
"He [Tarrio] was on a public White House Christmas tour," Deere told Reuters. "He did not have a meeting with the president, nor did the White House invite him."
Who is Enrique Tarrio?
Henry "Enrique" Tarrio is the international chairman of the Proud Boys — a far-right group founded in 2016 by Gavin McInnes known for promoting violence against political opponents. Tarrio identifies himself as Afro-Cuban and was raised in Little Havana neigborhood of Miami Florida. He currently lives in Miami-Dade County — a neighborhood populated with Cuban-Americans and Latinos who played a crucial role in President Donald Trump's win in the state during this year's presidential election.
Tarrio, who is also the Florida state director of the grassroots organization Latinos for Trump, was reportedly convicted of theft in 2004 and was sentenced to three years of probation and community service. His next conviction reportedly came in 2013, when he was sentenced to 30 months in prison for remarketing and reselling medical devices that were stolen.
Tarrio became the international chairman of the Proud Boys in 2018 and has been proactive in organizing pro-Trump rallies across the country. He previously denounced fascism, anti-Semitism and communism, according to the Washington Times.
"I denounce anti-Semitism. I denounce racism. I denounce fascism," Tarrio reportedly said. "I denounce communism and any other -ism that is prejudiced toward people because of their race, religion, culture, tone of skin."