- On Saturday morning, Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio posted photos taken at the White House on the social media platform Parler, saying that he accepted a “last minute invite to an undisclosed location.”
- The posts raised questions of whether the leader of the male-only, right-leaning organisation had a personal meeting with President Donald Trump.
- The White House responded, saying that Tarrio was not invited and was simply part of a public Christmas tour.
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On Saturday morning, Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio posted a photo of himself taken at the White House, saying that he accepted a “last minute invite to an undisclosed location.”
“Never thought I’d be here,” he wrote on another post taken on the building’s South Portico.
The posts, uploaded on the conservative-driven social media network Parler, immediately set off questions of whether the leader of the male-only, right-wing extremist organisation had a personal meeting with President Donald Trump, presumably to coincide with a series of rallies being held in Washington DC this weekend to protest the 2020 presidential election.
However, the White House said that Tarrio was not invited and was simply part of a public Christmas tour.
“He was on a public WH Christmas tour,” Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, informed The Daily Beast. “He did not have a meeting with the President nor did the WH invite him.”
Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio appears to have been invited to the White House. Pic from his Parler account this morning. pic.twitter.com/aQ0u4RgoFz
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) December 12, 2020
The Proud Boys have had a presence at numerous political rallies across the country this year, including a November “Million MAGA March” demonstration against the election results, along with today’s election-related protests in Washington DC.
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When asked about the Proud Boys during the first presidential debate, Trump called on the group to “stand back and stand by,” which elicited praise among its members.
Trump later walked back his earlier comment.
“I don’t know who Proud Boys are,” he said. “But whoever they are they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work.”
In a September interview with Insider’s Haven Orecchio-Egresitz, Tarrio said that the group increased their political organising this year, with some members running for political office but not wanting their affiliation with the group disclosed. He said that the group’s members included candidates running for offices from city council to Congress.
“We have our guys who are running for office, and we’ll be busy door-knocking pretty much across the county,” he told Insider at the time. “We’re focused on the election and getting our favourite candidates elected, including our guys.”
Business Insider reached out to Tarrio for comment but had not yet heard back before publication.