The chairman of the far-right gang the Proud Boys sat on stage behind President Donald Trump during a speech in Miami on Monday.
“I got there at 7 a.m., so I got to pick my seat,” Enrique Tarrio confirmed to The Washington Post.
The White House did not return TPM’s request for comment about what vetting procedure, if any, it used for people sitting on stage behind the President.
The group’s new chairman was first spotted behind Trump on Monday by Miami New Times reporter Jerry Iannelli.
Looks like Enrique Tarrio, head of Miami's Proud Boy chapter, is seated right behind Trump on camera pic.twitter.com/RqmY4DaMHU
— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) February 18, 2019
Tarrio took over atop the Proud Boys after founder Gavin McInnes stepped away from the role. McInnes claimed he was told the change would help the legal cases of several Proud Boys arrested following a street brawl in New York City.
At the Monday event, Tarrio appeared to be wearing a shirt with the text “Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong,” which Stone is selling to fund his legal expenses as a recent indictee in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Tarrio wore the same shirt during a visit to Stone’s house after the Trump confidante’s recent arrest. A website registered to someone sharing Tarrio’s name also sells the same shirt and other Proud Boys-related gear, Slate recently reported.
Like many Proud Boys, Tarrio has employed fascistic and violent references online, and did so again Monday.
Hey @jack @TwitterSupport: The chairman of the fucking Proud Boys tweeted an image of Augusto Pinochet at me, which is a reference to an alt-right meme about Pinochet disemboweling journalists and chucking them from helicopters. Your broken website found nothing wrong here. pic.twitter.com/HFfKOELWBN
— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) February 19, 2019
The Proud Boys are well-known for their often-violent confrontations with anti-fascist groups. Tarrio attended the deadly Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, but claimed afterward that he “was completely against” white nationalists’ torch-lit march the night before the event.