At the Sept. 29 Presidential Debate, when asked to condemn white supremacy, President Trump said “Sure” but then replied, “Proud Boys? Stand back and stand by.”

It would appear Trump sees the Proud Boys as his private militia. Do you think this isn’t serious?

Here is my experience with the Proud Boys.

We belong to a group in Florida that did a “sign display” each week. Often it was about justice and peace, but then about Trump.

We got word that Proud Boys were coming to our display. Our group is mostly female retirees. If our Trump signs offend someone and we’re sworn at we respond with, “Have a nice day.”

When we arrived, the Proud Boys were there with Trump flags on long poles and bullhorns. There were thirtyish-looking guys and teenage boys. Their plan was to taunt and insult us—the louder and closer the better.

One of our members approached a teen with a shirt about competitive rowing, wanting to inquire about locations for his grandson to row. It was fine, until the teen’s “handlers” got a hold of him. The young man came firing back at our member, name calling and being insulting. Apparently, he was not supposed to be cordial with us.

Another bullhorn-carrying Proud Boy got close behind a woman, and her husband objected. They became nose to nose while my 5’3” wife stepped between them. Another Proud Boy held his phone to take a video and taunt the husband, screaming “Don’t you touch him!” He evidently wanted to portray us as the aggressors.

These guys are trained and sometimes armed. Does Trump’s “Stand by” message indicate that he wants them at the polls? Is their purpose to intimidate? My experience with these bullies would make me say “yes.”

—Gary Medland,
Lapeer Township