Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio pretended to have scored an invitation to the White House this past weekend. In fact, he took a public Christmas tour, White House spokesperson Judd Deere said: “He did not have a meeting with the president, nor did the White House invite him.”
After Tarrio’s first post caused a stir, the group’s official account on the right-wing social media site Parler posted another pic of their leader, masked and more closely cropped in. “There’s been a Proud Boy at the White House for 4 years and everyone’s shocked about the pic from today….” the far-right extremist group said.
It wasn’t clear who exactly the Proud Boys considered to be one of their own in the White House, but the group has been outspoken in its support of President Trump, and its members regularly sport red MAGA caps atop their black-and-yellow Fred Perry shirts.
Given the opportunity to disavow the far-right group, Trump famously instructed them instead to “stand back and stand by,” a formulation that inspired the group to print shirts that read “PROUD BOYS STANDING BY.” Proud Boys members spent the weekend successfully seeking out violence in DC this weekend and videos posted on Twitter appear to show Proud Boys attacking Black churches, incidents the DC police are investigating as hate crimes.
On Tarrio’s own Parler account, he posted a photo that showed a Proud Boys banner he said some members installed on the Cuban Embassy in DC. The embassy didn’t immediately respond to a phone call seeking to verify this claim.