On October 12, the chairman of the extremist group The Proud Boys promoted the group on the YouTube show of Tim Pool. The video thus far has over three hundred thousand views on the platform.
Pool, a self-described journalist, regularly amplifies conspiracy theories and has done numerous videos with white nationalists and far-right extremists. Recently, he amplified a baseless smear against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
After President Donald Trump called for the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” during the first (and so far only) presidential debate, interest in the group soared. The Proud Boys and other far-right groups cheered Trump’s statement, and Tarrio claimed that recruitment then went “through the roof.” During his appearance on Pool’s show, Tarrio said he was excited about Trump’s comment.
Since its inception, when founder Gavin McInnis said that “we need more violence from the Trump people,” the Proud Boys been at the center of many violent confrontations. Members served as unofficial bodyguards for far-right speakers following Trump’s election. In 2019, two Proud Boys were sentenced to four years in prison for attacking protesters at a speech. Tarrio himself has encouraged members to bring bear mace with them to demonstrations.
Tarrio was also present during the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Heather Heyer lost her life to a domestic terrorist. The rally was partially organized by Jason Kessler, who was himself reportedly a “documented member” of the Proud Boys. Talking to Pool, Tarrio described being at the rally in Charlottesville and even claimed that he was the “very fine people” that Trump infamously mentioned, while using the event as an example of why “sometimes it just doesn’t work” to let the police do their job.
Tarrio also downplayed the threat from white nationalist groups. He claimed that “most of these ethnonationlist groups are really not a threat” and most white supremacists just stay in their “basement.”
If this sounds familiar, recall that Fox News’ Tucker Carlson claimed that the threat of white supremacy was a “hoax” on his prime-time show.
FBI Director Christopher Wray recently testified that racially motivated extremism by mostly white supremacists constitutes the largest domestic terror issue in the nation.