Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Members of the Proud Boys and Antifa stand off near Black Lives Matter Plaza on December 12, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Thousands of protesters who refuse to accept that President-elect Joe Biden won the election rallied ahead of the electoral college vote to make Trump's 306-to-232 loss official. (Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Members of the Proud Boys and Antifa stand off near Black Lives Matter Plaza on December 12, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Thousands of protesters who refuse to accept that President-elect Joe Biden won the election rallied ahead of the electoral college vote to make Trump's 306-to-232 loss official. (Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

"In Case There Was Any Doubt Regarding 'Stand By'": Four People Stabbed After Pro-Trump DC Rally

"This is all on you, Republicans. You have enabled all of this."

Jessica Corbett

At least four people were stabbed Saturday as supporters of President Donald Trump, including maskless Proud Boys in helmets and bulletproof vests, descended on the nation's capital and clashed with counterprotesters—violence that some critics tied to the president's pre-election directive to the self-described "western chauvinists."

During a debate ahead of his loss in November, Trump had told the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by," which swiftly elicited criticism that he was inciting violence. Designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Proud Boys are known for their white nationalist, anti-Muslim, and misogynistic rhetoric as well as their presence at the infamous 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville.

The Washington Post reported late Saturday that "in smaller numbers than their gathering last month, they roamed from the Capitol to the Mall and back again, seeking inspiration from speakers who railed against the Supreme Court, Fox News, and President-elect Joe Biden. The crowds cheered for recently pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn, marched with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and stood in awe of a flyover from what appeared to be Marine One."

Singing "Jingle Bells" and chanting vulgar slogans, "a group of about 50 men in the Proud Boys' black and yellow circled the perimeter of Black Lives Matter Plaza, where about 200 anti-Trump demonstrators were rallying," according to the Associated Press. Following the daytime rallying, "downtown Washington quickly devolved into crowds of hundreds of Proud Boys and combined forces of antifa and local Black activists—both sides seeking a confrontation in an area flooded with police officers."

After nightfall, at least four people were stabbed near Harry's Bar, a Proud Boys "gathering point," the Post reported. While the affiliations of those wounded were not clear, D.C. fire spokesperson Doug Buchanan said the victims were hospitalized and suffered possibly life-threatening injuries. The Metropolitan Police Department said 23 people were arrested.

Trump tweeted Saturday: "Wow! Thousands of people forming in Washington (D.C.) for Stop the Steal. Didn't know about this, but I'll be seeing them! #MAGA."

Reporters and critics of the president, meanwhile, cited his comment from the debate. As former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson put it: "The message seems to have shifted from 'stand back and stand by' to 'the fight is on.'"

"Trump told the Proud Boys to 'stand back and stand by' and they listened to their Chosen One," said New York Times contributing opinion writer Wajahat Ali. "This is all on you, Republicans. You have enabled all of this."

The violence came just two days before the Electoral College vote and followed the U.S. Supreme Court's Friday night denial of a lawsuit filed by GOP Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that aimed to block the battleground states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin from casting their electoral votes for Biden.

After more than 100 Republican lawmakers declared their support for the suit, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) and others accused them of trying to "demolish democracy" and argued they should not be seated for the next congressional session. Citing the 14th Amendment, Pascrell said that "men and women who would act to tear the United States government apart cannot serve as members of the Congress."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Senate Dems Help Torpedo Resolution That Would Have Blocked $650 Million Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

"My simple question is, why in the world would the United States reward a regime that has caused such pain in Yemen with more weapons," Sanders asked after the vote. "The answer is we should not."

Brett Wilkins ·


Amnesty Scorecard Finds Twitter Failing to Protect Women From Online Abuse

"As our world has become increasingly dependent on digital spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic, it's critical that Twitter meet this moment with demonstrated commitment to improving the online experiences of all users, regardless of their identity."

Jessica Corbett ·


Filibuster Reform for Debt Ceiling Fight But Not Voting Rights or Reproductive Freedom?

"If our senators are willing to suspend the filibuster to protect our economy, they should be willing to suspend it to protect our democracy and our freedom to vote."

Jessica Corbett ·


As Senate Holds Guantánamo Hearing, Biden Urged to 'Finally End This Chapter of Injustice'

"Guantánamo is a centerpiece of the forever wars. It is a shameful symbol of racial injustice, torture, and violations of the Constitution and international law."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Unbreakable Solidarity': Kellogg's Workers Reject Contract That Would Leave New Employees Out of Benefits

"We're not willing to sell our souls for our future employees that are going to work side by side with us but not get the same pay or benefits."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo