Ex-Proud Boys leader says he'd wished he'd sold 'stand back and stand by' t-shirts after Trump's debate comment

Proud Boys leader Henry "Enrique" Tarrio wears a hat that says "The War Boys" during a rally in Portland, Ore., on September 26, 2020.
Proud Boys leader Henry "Enrique" Tarrio wears a hat that says "The War Boys" during a rally in Portland, Ore., on September 26, 2020.Allison Dinner/AP
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  • The House panel investigating January 6 showed footage of interviews with Proud Boys members.

  • A Proud Boy said membership "tripled" after Trump told the group to "stand back and stand by."

  • Enrique Tarrio regretted not selling t-shirts off inspired by Trump's debate stage comment.

It was a jaw-dropping moment in the September 2020 presidential debate.

On stage with Joe Biden, then-President Donald Trump was asked to disavow white supremacist groups and urge them to "stand down." Trump answered, "Give me a name," and Biden called out the far-right Proud Boys group.

"Proud Boys, stand back and stand by," Trump said.

Nearly two years later, the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol drew a line between that debate stage comment and the pro-Trump mob that sought to prevent Congress from certifying Biden's electoral victory.

At the first of six public hearings planned for this month, the House committee displayed video of an interview with a Proud Boy who attributed Trump's comment to exponential membership growth in the far-right group.

In another interview, former Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio cracked a wry smile and said he regretted not selling t-shirts brandished with the words "Stand back and stand by."

"One of the vendors on my page actually beat me to it, but I wish I would've made a 'stand back stand by' t-shirt," Tarrio said in his interview with the House committee.

For the House committee, the footage bolstered a central point of the panel's first hearing: showing Trump's role in emboldening the far-right groups that instigated the violence of January 6.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee's Democratic chair, noted that members of the Proud Boys and far-right Oath Keepers group have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the January 6 attack and agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department's ongoing investigation.

At Thursday's hearing, the House committee also highlighted a post on the social media site Parlor in which Tarri responded to Trump's "stand back and stand by" comment.

"Standing by sir," Tarrio wrote.

Tarrio is now behind bars. On Monday, the Justice Department charged Tarrio and four other Proud Boys members with seditious conspiracy in connection with the Capitol attack, adding to preexisting criminal accusations from January 6.

At a court hearing Thursday, a federal prosecutor handling the case said the Justice Department expects the House committee to make transcripts of the panel's more than 1,000 interviews publicly available in September.

Tarrio and other Proud Boys members are set to stand trial in August.

Read the original article on Business Insider