Another U.S. presidential debate, another reference to the Proud Boys.
While it was U.S. President Donald Trump who memorably told the far-right hate group to “stand by” during the first debate, it was former vice-president Joe Biden who mentioned the neo-fascist group during Thursday’s final presidential debate.
In the middle of a heated exchange on race in America, Biden brought up the Proud Boys and Trump’s refusal to denounce them — except he called them the “Poor Boys.”
“[Trump] has made everything worse across the board. He said about the Poor Boys, the last time we were on stage here, he said ‘I tell them to stand down and stand ready,’” Biden said during Thursday night’s debate.
“C’mon. This guy is a dog whistle about as big as a foghorn.”
Viewers and pundits took to Twitter in support of rebranding the “Proud Boys” to “Poor Boys.”
The term was trending on Twitter throughout Thursday night.
“Stand back and stand by”
The Proud Boys were co-founded in 2016 by Canadian Gavin McInnes, and are associated with white supremacy and neo-fascism. The group bills itself as a fraternity of like-minded “Western chauvinists,” but is described by the Anti-Defamation League as an Islamophobic, misogynistic group bent on causing violence.
During the first debate, Trump was asked by moderator Chris Wallace to condemn white supremacist groups. Instead, he seemingly emboldened the violent group.
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” he said.
Following that debate, one of the Proud Boys’ leaders, Joe Biggs, took the president’s endorsement as a call to violence.
“Trump basically said to go f**k them up,” Biggs said in a chat on the right-wing social media app Parler. “This makes me so happy.”
Days after the debate after repeated calls to do so, Trump ultimately condemned the group.
“Isn’t poor boys a sandwich?”
Not everyone heard Biden say the same thing Thursday — others thought Biden said “po boys,” which prompted a lot of sandwich appreciation on social media Thursday night.
That’s certainly the tastiest thing he could’ve said and a far cry from the cynicism and racism Biden was trying to call attention to.