Pelosi calls Proud Boys far-right group members 'the president's friends' and claims Trump gave them a 'green light'
NANCY Pelosi said the Proud Boys were Trump's "friends" as she claimed he gave them the "green light" during the debate.
Pelosi made the comments during a from Capitol Hill press conference on Thursday – two days after Trump urged the the right-wing group to "stand back and stand by."
"Speaking of violence," the House Speaker began, "the Proud Boys, the president's friends, you know, the Proud Boys who are celebrating the green light that he gave them in the debate."
She went on to share a personal story about how the Proud Boys violently interrupted a press conference she was at in South Florida during the 2018 campaign.
She said the group was doing the bidding of Florida Republicans.
The president came under fire after he was asked to denounce white supremacy group during the debate but instead told the Proud Boys to "stand by."
The far-right group was started by Gavin McInnes, the co-founder of Vice Media, in 2016 and is now led by Enrique Tarrio.
Tarrio reportedly responded enthusiastically after Trump's comments, writing on Parler – a social networking service popular among conservatives – that he is, "Standing by sir."
He also tweeted: "I am extremely PROUD of my Presidents performance tonight."
McInnes, during his Get Off My Lawn podcast, also responded after Trump name dropped the Proud Boys during the debate.
"I control the Proud Boys, Donald!" McInnes said, before adding, "Do not stand down, do not stand back!"
Other members of the group were captured celebrating what they deemed as the president's approval on social media in the days following the debate.
Trump's campaign, however, has tried to paint the president's comments as a critique of the far-right group.
"President Trump has repeatedly condemned white supremacists," Trump's campaign tweeted.
Trump on Wednesday also told reporters that he doesn't "know who the Proud Boys are" – despite using the name during the debate.
The Proud Boys, a white nationalist organization, was classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and has been linked to violent protests in the past.
They deny any connection to the racist "alt-right" despite violent clashes with Black Lives Matter protesters.
The group describes itself as "a fraternal group spreading an anti-political correctness" and "anti-white guilt agenda."
A prominent member of the group, Alan Swinney, was arrested Wednesday on several assault charges stemming from two clashes with anti-racism protesters in Portland.
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