At Court, Gaetz Echoes Trump's Call to Proud Boys

GOP congressman assures defendant he's standing by
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2024 6:30 PM CDT
At Court, Gaetz Echoes Trump's Call to Proud Boys
Donald Trump, center, walks by Rep. Matt Gaetz, left, outside court on Thursday in New York.   (Mike Segar/Pool Photo via AP)

Rep. Matt Gaetz's expression of support on Thursday might have sounded familiar to Donald Trump. "Standing back and standing by, Mr. President," Gaetz posted on X, the Hill reports. Gaetz included with a photo showing Trump outside the New York courtroom where he's on trial, with the Republican lawmaker in the background. It was during a 2020 presidential debate that Trump, when challenged by Joe Biden to denounce such groups, issued his call for the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by."

A spokesperson for Gaetz declined to comment on the post, telling the Hill that "the tweet speaks for itself." The extremist group has adopted the phrase as a badge of honor since Trump used it, per the AP. Jeremy Joseph Bertino of the Proud Boys later told the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol the group's membership "tripled, probably" after the debate. Its leaders have been convicted of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6 attack and given prison sentences. (More Trump hush-money trial stories.)

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