Donald Trump pulled a Mariah: ‘I don’t know who the Proud Boys are’

President Trump and Joe Biden Meet in First Presidential Debate

You know what’s starting to get on my nerves? All of the political reporters and commentators behaving as if Donald Trump’s performance in the first 2020 presidential debate was something wholly new, something they had not seen before a million times. They’re even being highly selective about how they’re talking about Trump’s performance in the three 2016 debates, all of which Hillary “won” decisively, even with Trump behaving like a buffoon. But the political commentariat is like “whoa, we didn’t know he was THIS crazy!” Yes, you did. Americans polled in the wake of the debate disaster agree: Joe Biden was the presidential one and Trump was a raving lunatic. Some of the people polled even used the words like “unhinged,” “chaotic” and “crackhead” to describe Trump.

One of the worst moments in the trainwreck performance was when Chris Wallace tried to challenge Trump to condemn his racist, white supremacist supporters, all of whom support Trump because they see themselves in him and because he’s empowered them and engaged them. Wallace even used the words “tell them to stand down.” That’s what led to Trump telling the Proud Boys (a white terrorist organization) to “stand back and stand by.”

This ended up being one of the big headlines in the 24 hours after the debate. Republican surrogates had to do that asinine dance of pretending that Trump misspoke (he did not) or that we’re misinterpreting him (we’re not) or that of course Donald Trump isn’t one white sheet away from burning a cross on the Obamas’ front lawn. The pressure was on for Trump to actually go on camera and swallow his white pride and actually tell his racist nutjob supporters that he doesn’t want their love. He still couldn’t really do it.

Mariah Trump, y’all. “Proud Boys? I don’t know her.” This is a transcript of what he actually said roughly 19 hours after he told the Proud Boys to “stand by.”

“I don’t know who the Proud Boys are. You’ll have to give me a definition because I really don’t know who they are. I can only say they have to stand down and let law enforcement do their work. … As people see how bad this radical liberal Democrat movement is and how weak, the law enforcement is going to come back stronger and stronger. But again, I don’t know who Proud Boys are, but whoever they are, they have to stand down and let law enforcement do their work.

REPORTER: “Mr. President, during the speech when you said ‘stand by,’ that might be [inaudible]”

TRUMP: “Just stand by. Look, law enforcement will do their work. They’re going to stand down, they have to stand down. Everybody. Whatever group you are talking about, let law enforcement do the work. Now, antifa is a real problem. Because the problem is on the left. And Biden refuses to talk about it.”

[From Axios]

Obviously, he knows exactly who his neo-Nazi supporters are and he’s happy to have their support. They also know this dance, and they know that he has to “officially” say words about how he doesn’t even know who they are, all while giving a wink and nudge that they should continue committing racist atrocities in his name. The Times even had a story about how pleased the Proud Boys were with even being name-checked during the debate. Something I think about a lot… even if, God willing, we elect Biden-Harris and we flip the Senate and keep the House, it’s not like these violent racists are going to disappear, you know?

President Trump and Joe Biden Meet in First Presidential Debate

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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52 Responses to “Donald Trump pulled a Mariah: ‘I don’t know who the Proud Boys are’”

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  1. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    “ All of the political reporters and commentators behaving as if Donald Trump’s performance in the first 2020 presidential debate was something wholly new, something they had not seen before a million times.”
    Like Trump – sorry, Mussolini’s whole presidency, the narrative has been Orwellian. Dictators always rewrite history according to their own narcissistic and sociopath message, with a supine press to support them. If Trump is returned to office in November, these fascisti groups will be trained and integrated into new militias. The prospect of the pain he will cause – not only to African-Americans and people of colour, but to LGBTQIA+, the environment, the working class, the sick and the lame, the legal system and most weepworthy, the truth itself – makes me urge my American CB sisters to have a bag packed and ready by the door.

    • Eenie Googles says:

      The border to Canada is closed.
      So they can’t come here.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      We were planning on heading to our place in the Bahamas (we have permanent residency there) regardless of who wins (semi retirement – I’ll be doing family medicine and my husband works primarily remotely), but we’re less likely to come back for visits and the like if Trump wins.

  2. Diana says:

    He looks worse than normal. The thought of losing is really terrifying him and that terror is manifesting itself as unhinged rage. He was a feral animal unleashed and monstrous. I’m already terrified of the coverage of him when they drag his ass out. It’s going to be the stuff of nightmares…. but we will be dancing in the streets!

    • Miranda says:

      I hope the celebrations in Times Square will make VJ Day look like a quiet tea party.

    • Esmom says:

      I also think he feels the walls closing in. Don Junior, too. I have never wished suffering on anyone but I hope they are feeling wretched after what they have put our country through for the past four years.

  3. Sayrah says:

    I’m concerned about civil unrest no matter who wins and I’m firmly voting for Biden. It’s a crazy time to live in America.

    • Miranda says:

      I honestly can’t believe how quickly America went from respected (if somewhat resented) leaders of the free world to…this. We have become one of those backwards countries with cult-of-personality leaders that John Oliver gleefully pokes with a stick every week.

      • BnLurkN4eva says:

        You hear about those countries where violence breaks out between rival factions during election and you never thought it could happen here in America and now it’s a distinct possibility. Human kind never learn to not rest on our laurels. History should teach us that what happened before can happen again unless we stay vigilant. Who would have thought that the little gains the women’s movement made not really that long ago could be on the verge of being eroded. The civil rights acts gains could be stripped away if we are not careful. LGBTQ only recently became more mainstream excepted and already if we are not careful can be turned all the way back.

  4. Becks1 says:

    Even Fox and Friends was ripping him apart for that answer – I think Brian Kilmeade (I don’t watch, I just read a story in WaPo about it, lol) said something like “it was the biggest layup in the history of debates” – meaning that Wallace gave him the PERFECT opportunity to denounce white supremacist groups and even told him EXACTLY what to say and Trump still couldn’t do it.

    • B n A fn says:

      He could not say it because he’s one of them. Also, Stephen Miller, one of his speech writer is a known WS. His father was arrested at a 3K rally when he was alive.

    • Christin says:

      He had an opportunity to denounce it yesterday during the press pool questioning, and he chose vague wording. He said something g like, I’ve always been / am against that. What is “that”?

      Some think he’s incapable of speaking clearly. The Woodward tapes regarding the virus show that he can speak coherently and express a clear thought.

    • Teebee says:

      He hates being told what to do. He hates saying “sowwy…” And in such a heightened setting, with the only desire being to project, deflect and bluster, of course he’d never change course.

      I think the Dems and Biden should bait the crap out of him over the next 2 debates. He clearly has triggers and buttons all over him. Keep poking him. Like A Few Good Men… Trump can’t handle the truth, he wants to brag about how his supporters love him so much even though he thinks they’re garbage. Biden should bring up that statement about how COVID means Trump didn’t have to shake the hands anymore of those losers… watch him literally melt on screen!

  5. Seraphina says:

    Trump’s re-election strategy: Only Trump can save America from Trump’s America.

    • Miranda says:

      *bitter laughter dissolving into sobs*

      That’s both hilarious and horrifically accurate. I would love to hear Biden use that exact line during the next debate.

  6. Thirtynine says:

    There does seem to be a sense of panic about him, I agree. I do wonder how much longer physically and mentally he can hold up?

    • B n A fn says:

      I believe he’s a sick man. He holds on to the podium as if his life depends on it and is using it to hold himself up. Also, when he walks he drags his right leg. I heard this morning he said if he’s going down he’s taking us with him, don’t know if this is true but if it is, that’s scary.

  7. sa says:

    Why does he think it makes him look good to say he doesn’t know who they are? He’s the President, he should know who domestic terrorists are. Also Trump always pretends to know things that he very obviously does not know. Saying he doesn’t know something might be the surest sign that he does.

    And, “let law enforcement do their work”? Part of law enforcement’s work is arresting these guys if they do anything illegal, so I hope law enforcement are doing their actual work instead of joining them to attack peaceful citizens.

    • Calamity Jane says:

      He says it because he can’t openly support them. But he doesn’t want to piss off a large section of his base by condemning them. So by saying he doesn’t know who they are he sidesteps the problem of saying either.

      • sa says:

        I know why he says it. I just don’t know why he thinks it makes him look better when, if true, it would just show how bad he is at his job.

      • Esmom says:

        sa, I hear you. But pretty much everything he says shows how bad he is at his job and he still thinks he’s fooling people into thinking he’s a leader. So this is no different. He hasn’t learned a single thing while in office about how a real president works and behaves.

      • Chanteloup says:

        Sure he doesn’t know them, but national chairman of the PBs is director of Latinos for DicktatorDon and there are photos of him with Don Jr, Roger Stone, Ted Cruz and Sarah Huckabitch Sanders.
        Lying liar constantly lies.

    • Snowbunny says:

      He implicitly suggested law enforcement’s goals are the same as white supremacists. Incredible.

      • BeanieBean says:

        Yeah, that’s what he did & that really bugged me.

      • Miranda says:

        And there we have it. The only truthful thing that has ever come out of his mouth, and he was still too chickenshit to be explicit about it.

    • chicken tetrazzini! says:

      The thing to remember is that there are many members of law enforcement that are also members of white supremacist groups or fringe groups. Their aims are the same as the PB’s, so that’s cool

  8. Miranda says:

    Of course he knows who they are. But it’s kinda darkly funny that, even if he was genuinely clueless, that would still be a confirmation that HE DOESN’T EVEN GIVE A SHIT ABOUT HIS BIGGEST SUPPORTERS. And those morons will continue to be completely oblivious and fawn over their oh-so-humble Dear Leader.

    • Chanteloup says:

      lol So true. They’ll never matter a damn to him other than any temporary gain he can get; just like all narcissists, it’s ALL ABOUT HIM. All day. Every day.

  9. Mel M says:


    ETA: this comment was meant for @SA

  10. Calamity Jane says:

    I’ve put away the crystal ball. I’ll believe the election result when I see it.

  11. Esme says:

    It’s difficult to be surprised at his rethoric, after all these years. You (people and liberal media) know what he’ll say. You know which side he’s on. Asking him to clarify or to say the “right/presidential/decent thing” just gives him one more opportunity to cater to his base. Indignation does not work, it will not be felt by him or his base. The media should just focus on the positive things the Dems want to build and offer, beyond “remove Trump”.

    • Calamity Jane says:

      Policy debate is out the window. It’s a referendum on Trump.

      • B n A fn says:

        “ it a referendum on Trump.” … and anyone who say they are undecided at this time is lying 🤥 IMO. What else do they have to hear. The man lied to the American people about Covid and because he lied there are more than 205,000 dead. He cannot denounced white supremacy, he cannot produce his taxes, because he does not pay taxes he does not help with policing, keeping hospitals funded, keep maintaining roads, schools, ect. He bankrupts his casinos several times, meaning the tax payers Pick up the tabs. He lies to us everyday ect ect ect.

      • Esme says:

        And I believe the “referendum on Trump” to be the wrong strategy. There’s a lot of racist people, even if they don’t admit it in a poll… If they have no competing selfish reason (like free healthcare) to vote for the Dems, they’ll vote with their little racist hearts again.

        On the other hand, I haven’t heard about any third party candidate picking up steam this time… No one but no one is getting in the middle of the bloody battle royale. That should be good for the Dems.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I don’t think it is just a referendum on Trump. I think people can be convinced not to vote for Trump (stay home), but we also have to persuade them to vote for Biden. I think Trump has been given too much power to define Biden, and I think it is important for the American people to hear what Biden has to offer.

  12. Ariel says:

    Make racists afraid again.

  13. Mellie says:

    Like Anderson Cooper said last night, that’s his classic comeback….”I don’t know them”…same with David Duke, Jeffrey Epstein and so many others……

  14. Kate says:

    I wonder how white supremacists and nationalists rationalize that what they believe and do is right when they know they have to operate in secrecy from the rest of society. Like do they equate themselves with, say, abolitionists in the pre-civil war era, or anti-Nazis during the Holocaust? Or do they know they embrace evil and don’t care?

    • MsIam says:

      They are waiting for their moment to come out of the shadows. I read an article somewhere that the White nationalist movement is recruiting heavily among the police and the military. It’s frightening for the country to think about the consequences of this.

  15. Rapunzel says:

    Media and Democrats need to stop accusing Trump of not condemning white supremacy. Trump has condemned white supremacy. That is not the problem. The problem is that every time he condemns white supremacy he follows it up something else which undercuts his condemnations. The problem is not what he’s not saying. The problem is that he talks out of both sides of his mouth. This is intentional and is to make his supporters accuse media/Dems of lying when they clearly ignore the words he’s said. He says the right things, but follows them with the wrong things. Focus on the double talk, and don’t ignore his actual words of they’re going to be used to ignore your point.

    The question to ask is not “why are you not condemning white supremacy?” But instead “why, if you really condemn white supremacy, do you follow up every condemnation of white supremacy with implied support for white supremacists?” Or better yet, ask, “If you really condemn white supremacy, why do white supremacists support you so much?”

    • MsIam says:

      Even if he did state it plainly it wouldn’t matter. I read years ago that this movement teaches the members to believe the opposite of whatever is stated publicly. That the condemnations are only to fool the media. That’s why they still stick with him.

    • trashaddict says:

      Rapunzel that question is too subtle for a man who blunders through life like he has.

  16. Leah says:

    He knows who they are, he mentioned them by name and they got so excited they tripped over themselves like a bunch of starry eyed fan boys.

    What he’s trying to do now is backpedal, but his bike is in the ditch.

  17. Snowbunny says:

    As a trial attorney, my advice to testifying witnesses and my clients is that if they don’t know something to say “I don’t know.” That he wouldn’t have been able to follow that simple advice is telling.

    Also, “Proud Boys” was given to him as an example of a white supremacist group, so…really there is no room for plausible deniability.

    Saying “stand down” and “let law enforcement do their job” suggests Trump actually sees law enforcement and their mission as white supremacist….

    • MsIam says:

      Plus didn’t he commend that Kyle kid in Wisconsin who killed those people? And that couple in St.Louis who pulled guns on the protesters? Why didn’t he tell them to stand down? He’s up to his nose in this white supremacist sh!t whether he admits it or not. I think he’s hoping for a confrontation or riot because he feels it helps him.

      • holly hobby says:

        He told the DHS to tell officials to basically clap for what Rittenhouse did. I’m not sure if anyone actually came out and supported that punk but this news was all over Twitter this am.

  18. Valerie says:

    I don’t know them, but I hear they like me, so that’s good. Right?

  19. Chanteloup says:

    I dunno, but if I were Mimi I’d be like ‘get my name off of this post” – What she said was a little harmless celebrity shade. What he’s doing is gaslighting the American people as he incites a goddamn civilwar.