Merriam-Webster shares definitions of 'stand back' and 'stand by' after Trump Proud Boy comment

The makers behind the Merriam-Webster dictionary on Tuesday night shared the definitions of “stand back” and “stand by” after President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections Overnight Defense: US fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats | Kabul attack heightens fears of Afghan women's fates | Democratic Party leaders push Biden on rejoining Iran deal MORE refused to denounce white supremacy and the Proud Boys.

During the presidential debate against Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Manchin, Biden huddle amid talk of breaking up T package Overnight Energy: 5 takeaways from the Colonial Pipeline attack | Colonial aims to 'substantially' restore pipeline operations by end of week | Three questions about Biden's conservation goals MORE, Trump was asked by moderator Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceSunday shows - White House COVID-19 response coordinator says US is 'turning the corner' House Republican: Cheney has 'failed' GOP conference Facebook oversight board member on Capitol rioters: Trump was 'egging them on' MORE of Fox News to denounce white supremacists and militia groups who have aligned themselves with him. 

Trump asked Wallace to “give me a name," and Biden pointed to the Proud Boys, a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group.


“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump said. 

Merriam-Webster noted that “stand back” means to “take a few steps backwards" but “stand by” means “to be or to get ready to act.”


The Proud Boys describe themselves as “a pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world, also known as Western Chauvinists." They have been tied to violent protests, often in support of the president.

The far-right group celebrated online after they were mentioned during the debate, sharing a new logo with Trump’s remarks. Many of the members reportedly interpreted “stand back and stand by” as a call to arms.  

"This. This is Donald Trump's America," Biden wrote on Twitter. 

Congressional Democrats immediately tore into Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists.

"President Trump was asked to condemn white supremacy. He refused," tweeted Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHouse conservatives take aim at Schumer-led bipartisan China bill There will be no new immigration law under Biden, unless he changes course This week: Congressional leaders to meet with Biden amid GOP reckoning MORE (D-N.Y.). "He told white supremacists to 'stand back and stand by.' President Trump is a national disgrace, and Americans will not stand for it."

"Donald Trump is a white supremacist," added Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Outrage rises among liberals over Israel Battle lines drawn over Biden's support for vaccine waivers Overnight Energy: Update on Biden administration conservation goals | GOP sees opportunity to knock Biden amid rising gas prices | Push for nationwide electric vehicle charging stations MORE (D-N.Y.). "People have been warning about this for a long time. They were ridiculed, called hyperbolic & radical not bc they were wrong, but bc others couldn’t accept that our country elected a supremacist as President. This is fascism at our door."