May 23, 2024

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump responded. Afterward, Trump claimed to not know who the Proud Boys were, saying, “Whoever they are, they have to stand down. Let law enforcement do their work.” Despite this, Trump’s “stand back” comment was broadly interpreted among the far right as a call to mobilize on his command.

Immediately following the September debate, the Proud Boys released a flier with the phrase “Stand back and stand by” announcing a November 14, 2020, protest in Washington, D.C., that MAGA groups dubbed “Million MAGA March.” Following that day-long protest, a gang of drunken Proud Boys roamed the streets of D.C. on the hunt for anti-fascists, leading to a violent brawl where Proud Boys attacked counterprotesters and press.