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Everytown, Moms Demand Action Call on Sen. Gardner to Condemn White Supremacists After Trump Refused to During Last Night’s Debate

October 1, 2020

Gardner Has Refused to Stand up to Trump Time and Again, Voting With Him nearly 90% of the time –– and Siding With Trump and the Gun Lobby Over the Safety of Coloradans

The Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement calling on Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) to condemn white supremacy after President Donald Trump refused to do so during last night’s debate. Instead, when asked directly “to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down,” President Trump told the Proud Boys –– a group of violent, far-right extremists –– to “stand back and stand by.”

“It’s simple, white supremacy is unacceptable and should be plainly condemned by everyone –– especially our United States Senator who is vying for another chance to represent Colorado. Sen. Gardner should condemn white supremacists loudly and clearly –– and he should condemn President Trump for his refusal to do so,” said Laura Reeves, a volunteer with the Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Will Gardner stand by Trump once again as he continues to empower dangerous, violent white supremacists?”

Gardner’s opponent in the race for U.S. Senate, John Hickenlooper, tweeted “This isn’t a trick question. White supremacy is despicable and should be condemned by everyone.”

This week, Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund launched a new ad against Senator Cory Gardner, slamming him for siding with Donald Trump amid the coronavirus pandemic, and benefiting from millions of dollars from the gun lobby while voting against common-sense gun safety legislation like background checks on all gun sales.

The Proud Boys and other extremist groups across the country rejoiced at President Trump’s implicit endorsement and decision not to condemn white supremacy: 

  • Members of the Proud Boys immediately began “sharing the group’s logo with the president’s words emblazoned like a slogan” after the President’s comments, and started selling a “Stand By” shirt.
  • One Proud Boy leader commented that “Trump basically said to go fuck them up!” and how it makes him “so happy.”
  • The national chairman of the Proud Boys wrote that he “will stand down sir!!!” He added that he is “so Proud of [his] guys right now.” 

The Proud Boys, founded by noted racist, anti-Semite, and Islamophobe Gavin McInnes in 2016, are a group of violent, far-right extremists who often express racist beliefs. 

  • According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Proud Boys are a designated hate group who “regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric. Proud Boys have appeared alongside other hate groups at extremist gatherings like the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville.” 
  • The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) provides further context on the group: “The Proud Boys bear many of the hallmarks of a gang, and its members have taken part in multiple acts of brutal violence and intimidation.” Additionally, “[w]hile the Proud Boys insist that they only act in self-defense, several incidents ­— including one in which two members of the group were convicted of attempted gang assault, attempted assault and riot — belie their self-professed peaceful nature. Indeed, many members have criminal records for violent behavior and the organization actively pursues violence against their perceived enemies.” 

More information on the intersection of armed intimidation and extremism can be found here. To speak with a policy expert or volunteer in Colorado, please do not hesitate to reach out.

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