Man repeatedly flashes 'white power' sign behind Trump during Florida rally, Internet says 'it was no accident'
The man threw the symbol up once again when the president spoke about COVID-19 in the US, and continued to do so at least five times throughout the rally
President Donald J. Trump's post-debate rally on Friday raised eyebrows after a man in the audience was seen repeatedly throwing "white power" signs while standing right behind the dais. The "OK" symbol, which has somehow come to represent white nationalism, was being displayed by a man on the stand directly behind Trump, The Sun reported. The gesture, which can be made by touching one's thumb and index finger in a circle, has become a signal for white supremacy, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
The man first threw the sign at the beginning of the rally as Trump commenced his speech. According to the report, he wore a hat with what appeared to be an insignia of the Proud Boys, a far-right group that has drawn national attention amid the Black Lives Matter protests. The man threw the symbol up once again when the president spoke about COVID-19 in the United States, and continued to do so at least five times throughout the rally.
Check out the guy in the sunglasses making the white power hand gesture behind Trump during his rally in The Villages, Florida pic.twitter.com/ubHOPFRe9h— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 23, 2020
According to some, the gesture is simple a "circle game" popular among kids, which includes someone flashing an upside-down OK sign below their waist and punching the shoulder of anyone who glances at it. However, the ADL believes white supremacists adopted the finger symbol after it was started as a hoax on social media website 4chan. It was originally meant to "trigger" liberals online and the gesture became so popular that it was "semi-sincerely" adopted by Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen, and other white nationalists to signal their supporters in public.
Unsurprisingly, the gesture successfully elicited the response it may have sought - inciting anger among several online.
"As we hit a new daily high number of cases, the president is out talking about how we can’t have a female president in front of a crowd throwing up white power signs. 11 days," MSNBC analyst Matthew Miller tweeted.
"The guy who flashed the white power sign behind Trump at his rally in FL was wearing a Proud Boys hat (laurel wreaths) the folks placed behind Trump are handpicked by his campaign aides. It was no accident. The racism is a feature, not a bug. Vote," comedian Noel Caster added.
"'You shared a video of a man yelling 'White Power''... Trump nods," author Kevin Kruse quipped.
"Congrats, jackass. You’ve tweeted a photo of Trump pointing towards a couple throwing White Power signs back to him #RacistDicks," journalist Keith Olbermann wrote in response to photos from the event shared by White House official Dan Scavino.
As we hit a new daily high number of cases, the president is out talking about how we can’t have a female president in front of a crowd throwing up white power signs. 11 days.— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) October 23, 2020
The guy who flashed the white power sign behind Trump at his rally in FL was wearing a Proud Boys hat (laurel wreaths) the folks placed behind Trump are handpicked by his campaign aides. It was no accident. The racism is a feature not a bug. Vote. @realDonaldTrump— NoelCaslerComedy (@CaslerNoel) October 24, 2020
"You shared a video of a man yelling 'White Power'"— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) October 23, 2020
Trump was accused of refusing to denounce white supremacists during the first presidential debate, albeit he has disavowed their support in the past. "I condemn the KKK, I condemn all White supremacists, I condemn the Proud Boys," Trump later told reporters. “I don't know much about the Proud Boys, almost nothing, but I condemn that.”
His Democratic challenger Joe Biden, however, described Trump as "one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history." "He pours fuel on every single racist fire," the former vice president said at the final debate on Thursday, adding that Trump “is a dog whistle about as big as a foghorn.”