The leader of the Proud Boys, a far-right group thrust into the spotlight earlier this week during the presidential debate, is also the leader of the grassroots group Latinos for Trump.
Enrique Tarrio told CNN on Thursday that there are two Latinos for Trump movements – one is run by the campaign, while the other is a grassroots movement started in 2016.
News of Tarrio’s tie to the grassroots movement supporting the President comes days after President Donald Trump refused to disavow White supremacists during Tuesday’s presidential debate, instead using his allotted time to blame violence on what he called “antifa and the left” and to tell the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” The day after the debate, Trump claimed he had no idea who the Proud Boys were.
Based in Miami, the grassroots group headed by Tarrio has been active during the 2020 election cycle, knocking on doors during the coronavirus pandemic to reach potential voters. Speaking to CNN on Thursday, Tarrio said his Latinos for Trump group believes “all gun laws are unconstitutional.”
Shortly after Trump’s remarks during the debate, his words were embraced in memes and other social media posts by accounts that purported to be from Proud Boys members. Some emblazoned the phrase “stand back and stand by” onto the group’s logos, while others treated the President’s choice of the words “stand by” as a sort of rallying cry – and have since been promoting it.
Although it claims a diverse membership – Tarrio says he is Cuban American – the Proud Boys group lists among its central tenets a belief in “closed borders” and the aim of “reinstating a spirit of Western chauvinism.”
The Anti-Defamation League has labeled the Proud Boys ideology “misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic, and anti-immigration.”
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
CNN’s Devan Cole and Paul P. Murphy contributed to this report.