Proud Boys Leader To Step Down As Embattled Group Plans Pivot To Local Politics

ToplineEnrique Tarrio, Chairman of Proud Boys, told NPR that he plans to resign from his position as head of the far-right group after months of turmoil caused by the alleged involvement in the Capitol attack on Jan. 6.PORTLAND, OREGON, SEPTEMBER 26: Enrique Tarrio (leader of the Proud Boys) attends a Proud Boys... [+] rally in Delta Park on the northern edge Portland, Oregon, September 26, 2020. Although they had promised to "liberate” Portland from anarchists they kept the city's edge and the rally was peaceful. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images. Corbis via Getty ImagesThe Key FactsTarrio, who led the group since late 2018, stated in an interview that he would be leaving the position of national chairman in September in order to focus on his Florida chapter. Tarrio denied that his decision was influenced by the Proud Boys recent problems. He said that the group wasn't as fractured as some reports claim and that he has always wanted to do more local work. Tarrio explained that he hopes to see the group focusing more on local political races than on national ones.Important QuoteTarrio stated that my goal for the year has been simple. Get more involved in local politics and run our men for office from local seats.Surprising FactAt least one Proud Boys-linked politician is out there. Joel Campbell, a former member of the group, is running for Topeka City Council. Campbell disassociated himself from the group after Jan. 6 and told NPR that he knew that if he wanted to pursue a serious political career, he could not be associated anymore with them.Important BackgroundThe Proud Boys, who rose to prominence under the Trump administration, have had a difficult year financially and legally. Several of the group's members are facing charges for their participation in Jan. 6 riots. Several others have been accused of conspiring against the certification of President Bidens Electoral College win. The Wall Street Journal investigated the group and found that it was in serious financial trouble. Tarrio had begun printing Black Lives Matter T-Shirts to earn money. While some reports suggested that members were leaving the group, there are several Proud Boys chapters in the area, including those in Seattle, Indiana, Alabama, and Las Vegas. In an interview with NPR, Tarrio suggested that he had managed to bring back local chapters. He said that they were all on the same page.TangentTarrio was not present at the Capitol attack but he has been facing legal problems. Tarrio, the chairman of Proud Boys, was charged with burning a Black Lives Matter banner from a Washington, D.C., historic Black church during a Stop the Steal rally in December. He was banned temporarily from D.C. because of the incident and he couldn't attend Jan. 6 riots. Tarrio was also a national sensation. This happened after he revealed that he was a prolific informant for law enforcers, working repeatedly undercover for investigators since his 2012 arrest.Continue readingSome Proud Boys Move To Local Politics as Scrutiny Of Far Right Group Ramps UpProud Boys, Oath Keepers and Forceful on Jan. 6 Privately Are In Turmoil (Wall Street Journal)Proud Boys Leader Accuses Group Members of Being Too Harshly Punished for Jan. 6 (Forbes).