When former Trump campaign adviser and self-described “dirty trickster” Roger Stone was indicted on Friday, he was mostly met with a chorus of boos and expletives when he attempted to explain himself on the steps of a Florida federal courthouse.
One individual who was there to support Stone, however, was Enrique Tarrio, chairman of the Proud Boys and former leader of its Miami chapter.
Wearing a “Roger Stone did nothing wrong” shirt, Tarrio told WPLG Local 10 News that the indictment against Stone was nothing more than “trumped up charges” (no pun intended). On Sunday, the Daily Mail also reported that Tarrio was seen visiting Stone at his Fort Lauderdale home.
Stone also recorded a message with Tarrio on Friday for the Proud Boys website. “Keep the faith, don’t let them wear you down. The globalists, the two party duopoly, [special counsel] Robert Mueller, the Deep State, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post — they want to wear us down,” Stone said. “Never give up the fight… A man is not finished when he is defeated, he is only finished when he quits.”
The Proud Boys’ national clout has receded significantly since last October, when a group of its members was filmed brutally beating counter-protesters near the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York City. Stone, however, has repeatedly maintained amicable relations with the group, occasionally using them as de-facto bodyguards and part of his entourage. During last September’s Mother of All Rallies for instance — which Stone attended along with former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, militia members, and members of the white nationalist American Guard — Stone was escorted to and from the event by an entourage of Proud Boys.
“Let me say one thing about Russian collusion: It’s bullshit,” Stone said during the rally, as reported by Right Wing Watch. “It’s a canard, it’s a fraud, it’s a left-wing conspiracy theory.”
Last March, Stone was also photographed with a group of Proud Boys near Salem, Oregon. According to Willamette Week, Stone was there to attend the Republican Dorchester Conference, and he was worried about his personal security, so he enlisted the Proud Boys as private security. In 2018, the Proud Boys were repeatedly involved in violent confrontations in Portland, Oregon — about an hour away — where they faced off against counter-protesters. In May, Stone also posted a photo on his Instagram from Fox News’ green room featuring himself, two Proud Boys and Tucker Carlson.
The Proud Boys have repeatedly marketed themselves as a harmless “fraternal organization” who merely believe that “the West is the best.” In reality, however, they have repeatedly demonstrated a capacity for violence as well as ties to more overt far-right groups. After the incident in New York City last, the NYPD charged nine of them with assault, and Facebook and Instagram banned them for violating community guidelines soon after. Tarrio was present at the Unite the Right rally in August 2017, where one counter-protester was eventually killed. The rally’s organizer, Jason Kessler, was also a member, although the Proud Boys have since tried to deny that he was ever involved with them.