The leader of the Proud Boys is now running for congress in Florida

The all-male group has been designated as a “hate group” by the SPLC, a label they vehemently deny.

click to enlarge Tarrio with Florida Sen. Rick Scott. - ENRIQUE TARRIO VIA FACEBOOK
Enrique Tarrio via Facebook
Tarrio with Florida Sen. Rick Scott.

The leader of the far-right extremist group the Proud Boys is now running for congress in South Florida.

According to Florida Politics, the group’s leader Enrique Tarrio filed paperwork Friday to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala in Florida’s 27th Congressional District. Tarrio, a native of Little Havana, is now one of two Republican challengers for the seat, joining Maria Elvira Salazar, says the site. 

Tarrio will likely have a tough campaign ahead of him. So far, his neo-fascist group has had a rough year to say the least, with founder Gavin McIinnes stepping down as leader last October following a video showing members waving swords and assaulting protesters in New York. Just last month, two Proud Boys members were sentenced to four years in prison for the attacks. 

Following the incident, the Proud Boys and its self-described “Western Chauvinist” members were deplatformed from most major social media sites, with companies like Facebook saying the group violated their rules on hate speech. 

The all-male group has been designated as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a label they vehemently deny. But besides acts of extreme violence and hate speech, the Proud Boys are also known for their strict policy of only masturbating one day a month, and, most notably, the fact that members of the group were present at the 2017 white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally, which resulted in the death of protester Heather Heyer. 

The Proud Boys have close ties to Florida resident and former Trump advisor Roger Stone, who is still under trial for lying to congress about his communication with Wikileaks during the 2016 presidential elections. In an article from last January, The Daily Beast called the Proud Boys, “Roger Stone’s personal army,” and stated that during McInnes’ tenure as president, “Stone was ‘one of the three approved media figures allowed to speak’ about the group.”

However, with Stone under a gag order and zero social media presence, it would appear that members of the group have now resorted to showing up at every single Trump-related event, getting Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz to publicly defend them, selling edgy T-shirts, and now apparently running for political office. 

Last August, far-right provocateur Laura Loomer, who has close ties with the Proud Boys and has been de-platformed for hate speech, announced her run for Florida’s 21st District.   

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About The Author

Colin Wolf

Colin Wolf has been working with weekly newspapers since 2007 and has been the Digital Editor for Creative Loafing Tampa since 2019. He is also the Director of Digital Content Strategy for CL's parent company, Euclid Media Group.
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