Matt Gaetz invokes Trump’s infamous call to Proud Boys at trial: ‘Stand back and stand by’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington DC
Thursday 16 May 2024 16:25
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Trump arrrives at hush money trial flanked by 14 surrogates in court

Matt Gaetz invoked Donald Trump’s infamous call to the hard-right Proud Boys as the Florida representative showed up in court to back the former president during his hush-money trial.

“Standing back and standing by, Mr. President,” Mr Gaetz wrote on X as he shared an image of himself at the courthouse.

During one of his 2020 debates against now-President Joe Biden, Mr Trump called on the white supremacist group to “stand back and stand by,” declining to clearly condemn them and their role in violence across American cities that summer.

Mr Gaetz appeared in the courthouse alongside Colorado Republican Representative Lauren Boebert on Thursday morning.

In 2020, the moderator of the first debate, Chris Wallace, asked Mr Trump whether he is “willing to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and they need to stand down”.

“I’m willing to do that,” Mr Trump responded. “Almost everything I see is from the left wing, not from the right-wing. … I want to see peace.”

Mr Trump was pushed by Mr Wallace to condemn white nationalism, but Mr Trump asked for a name of a specific group, prompting Mr Wallace to mention the Proud Boys.

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what ... somebody’s gotta do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem, this is a left-wing problem,” Mr Trump said at the time.

The Proud Boys describe themselves as a “Western chauvinist” group and it has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Centre as a hate group. It was founded by Gavin McInnes, a VICE Media co-founder, in 2016.

Mr Gaetz and Ms Boebert appeared in court on Thursday to show solidarity with the former president as he faces 16 counts of falsifying business records. Shortly before the 2016 election, then-Trump fixer and now-witness for the prosecution Michael Cohen paid adult actor Stormy Daniels $130,000 to remain quiet about an alleged affair with Mr Trump in 2006. Mr Trump is then accused of having reimbursed Cohen and logged it as legal expenses. Mr Trump has denied the affair and pleaded not guilty.

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