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Everytown, Moms Demand Action Call on Senator Cornyn to Condemn White Supremacists After President Donald Trump Refused to During Last Night’s Debate

September 30, 2020

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, today called on Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to condemn President Donald Trump for his tacit endorsement of white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys at last night’s presidential debate.

“Senator Cornyn should immediately condemn President Trump’s refusal to denounce white supremacy, because Latino Texans know better than most how deadly armed hate can be when the president eggs it on,” said Persis Beaven, a volunteer with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action. “But we’re not holding our breath, because time and time again, Senator Cornyn has refused to stand up to the president’s xenophobia, racism, and vitriol. That’s why we are organizing and phone banking like never before to elect MJ Hegar and to ensure that Texas’s 38 electoral votes go to Vice President Biden.”

During last night’s presidential debate, President Donald Trump refused to condemn white supremacy. 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 far right Islamophobic and misogynist hate group –– to “stand back and stand by!” before adding, “But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left.” 

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.” 

President Trump has continually promoted dangerous racist and anti-Latino sentiments throughout his time as a candidate and while in office. In his white supremacist manifesto, the El Paso shooter echoed language used by the president which described immigration and the presence of Latinos in the United States as an “invasion.”

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