Skip to content

Was ‘stand back and stand by’ a rallying cry for the proud boys? Here’s how to deflate extremist fringe groups.

People in this story

Proud Boys gather in Portland, Ore., at Delta Park on September 26, 2020, in support of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse and Aaron 'Jay' Danielson who was shot dead by an antifascist protester during the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in the city. (Photo by Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

The Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, received a flood of new members in the first week of October. Why? The group was emboldened by President Donald Trump’s instructions to “stand back and stand by” during the debate on Sept. 29, says Gordana Rabrenovic, an assistant professor of sociology at Northeastern University who studies intergroup violence and conflict.

Trump appeared to walk back the comment the day after the debate. He told reporters gathered outside Marine One that he didn’t know who the Proud Boys were but that they should “stand down, let law enforcement do their work,” according to a White House transcript of the remarks.

Intended or not, Trump’s remarks on national television—which were part of his response to a question about whether he would denounce white supremacy—were taken up by members of the group as a rallying cry.

Continue reading at News@Northeastern.

More Stories

image of joe biden and donald trump

Election 2024: New poll tracker by Northeastern political scientist plots changes within pollsters

Northeastern University's Internet Democracy Initiative (IDI) hosts an Internet and Society conference at the Northeastern University London campus on Friday, May 10, 2024. Photo by Carmen Valino for Northeastern University

More researchers needed to rid the internet of harmful material, U.K. communications boss says at Northeastern conference

image of aerial view showing demolition crews working to finish removing the Fairfield Avenue bridge over Interstate 95, Saturday, May 4, 2024 in Norwalk, Conn. Crews are expected to finish removing the bridge by Sunday morning, and road repairs will be made. The tanker truck burst into flames under the overpass after colliding with two other vehicles Thursday. The cause remains under investigation.

One-third of bridges inthe United States need fixing. Here’s how to do that without wreaking havoc on supplychains and commuters

All Stories