What you need to know about the first presidential debate and the 'Proud Boys'.
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For many American families, the impacts of systemic racism are a daily reality. This summer saw mothers and children go out and join Black Lives Matter protests in an effort to make the United States a safer place for Black children.
Individuals across the country stood up and condemned white supremacy in 2020 and wanted the sitting President of the United States to do that Tuesday night, during the first presidential debate.
But he didn't.
When Chris Wallace of Fox News, the debate moderator, asked President Trump to condemn white supremacy, to ask militia groups to stand down and not escalate violence in cities like Kenosha and Portland, the president stated he was willing to...but when Wallace said "Then do it, sir," the president's answer was far from a clear condemnation.
First, Trump asked for a specific group to condemn, rather than simply condemning white supremacy as a whole. When the others on stage offered "white supremacy" and "Proud Boys" as the name to condemn, the President picked Proud Boys. But a condemnation didn't come.
"Proud Boys, stand back and stand by," Trump said. "But I'll tell you what, somebody's gotta do something about Antifa and the left. This is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem."
This followed a previous exchange in which Wallace asked President Trump why he ended a racial sensitivity training program. Trump responded that the training was racist and was teaching people to "hate our country."
Who are the Proud Boys?
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Proud Boys are a hate group based in "Western chauvinism". The group is known for participating in the Unite the Right rally that happened in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia and opposing Black Lives Matter protests.
When the President named the group and told them to "stand back and stand by" on Tuesday night, group members celebrated the recognition on social media.
As Megan Squire, a computer science professor at Elon University told NBC News, the nod from the President was a big deal to the
"To say Proud Boys are energized by this is an understatement," Squire said. "They were pro-Trump before this shout-out, and they are absolutely over the moon now. Their fantasy is to fight [A]ntifa in his defense, and he apparently just asked them to do just that."
The Proud Boys were hardly the only ones talking about the shout out on social media Tuesday night. Mothers were talking on social media. And many are deeply worried by the President of the United States refusing to condemn white supremacy.
[This is a developing story and may be updated.]
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