Did anybody else get a chill down their spine on Tuesday night’s debate, when President Trump gave a shout out to the Proud Boys? Anyone else flash back to the chaos in Charlottesville, the mayhem in Chapel Hill, the hatred on display in Graham?
Anyone else get a sinking feeling about the future of our republic?
The Proud Boys are more than just an idea in North Carolina. We have our own chapter — its president, Charles Donahoe, lives in Winston-Salem. They were in Fayetteville last month, about 40 of them, for a Qanon Save the Children March.
An NC House candidate, Heather Holmes (District 44), and state Senate candidate Sev Palacios (District 21), spoke at this event.
And why not? The president himself called them “fine people” after Charlottesville.
At the debate, Trump committed a hundred sins — against decorum, against truth, against our democratic process and against simple human decency.
But his call to the Proud Boys is the thing.
Trump’s own FBI warned last week that “racially motivated violent extremism” from white supremacist groups is the greatest terrorism threat facing our nation. Yet Trump refused to condemn this white-supremacist militia that, along with other similarly oriented groups, has infected this country like a foot fungus spread upwards.
He pivoted immediately to an attack against antifa — which all reasonable and honest people recognize as, like Joe Biden said, “an idea, not an organization” — and furthered the myth of violent protests from the left. The Washington Post has receipts on this — out of thousands of protests through the summer, 93 percent were peaceful and without any property destruction.
But forget about the facts. The only fact that matters is that Trump has, on national television, given marching orders to the Proud Boys.
And they’re closer than you think.