The Brief: Twitter memes are twisting Donald Trump's message to the white supremacist group the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by," as a way to wish ill upon him.

Bluesquiggle
DEEP DIVE

“Stand back and stand by” memes simultaneously make fun of Donald Trump for embracing his white supremacist base and for catching a virus that he’s downplayed. After President Trump announced via Twitter that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19, people started mocking him by putting a new spin on his “stand back and stand by” directions to the Proud Boys.

During the debate on Tuesday, Trump was asked to condemn white supremacist and militia groups. After failing to condemn these groups, Trump said “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.” The Proud Boys are a violent white supremacist group that has been labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Online, some of Trump’s critics, especially those who see his actions and platforms as actively harmful, celebrate the news that he’s tested positive for a virus that he’s spent months downplaying. One way people are doing this is by twisting Trump’s “stand back and stand by” comments in memes about his health. A common iteration of this meme asks Miss Rona to “stand back and stand by.”

A reference to Trump’s comments about disinfectants possibly being used as a Coronavirus treatment:

https://twitter.com/BassMamaTay/status/1311899879648747521

A message for the dancing pallbearers of doom:

https://twitter.com/notteia/status/1312088018363330560

https://twitter.com/kasoomyy/status/1312042146657185792

In addition to the many “stand back and stand by” memes, Melaina Trump’s infamous jacket that read “I really don’t care do you” got several shout outs.