The violent, right-wing group known as the Proud Boys has hit the big time in the delusional world of conspiracy theorists after being crowned as leaders of the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6.

Numerous members have been arrested in relation to the Capitol riot and, in court documents, some have conceded that they wanted to kill former Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress.

Just to be clear, this is the same gang of militants that has received support from Macomb Republicans – and one congressional candidate – over the past year.

In late December 2019, congressional hopeful Doug Slocum of Macomb County boasted in a Facebook post that he had attended a pro-President Trump gathering along with members of the Proud Boys.

Slocum, in dark jacket, with a Proud Boy nearby at event.

Slocum posted that he had “a wonderful evening” at the fundraiser with the Proud Boys and “other great Trump Republican friends.”

When I wrote a story about the event, I pointed out that The Proud Boys are a high-profile neo-fascist group that glorifies violence against left-wingers and has some ties to white nationalist groups. They have been associated with Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and misogyny. The group, known for its hazing rituals, only allows men as members.

In response, I was hammered by numerous Trump and Slocum supporters who insisted the Proud Boys were a legitimate conservative group, not a bunch of extremists. I included several links that depicted The Proud Boys’ reputation as a white supremacist organization, but those were dismissed as fake news. Slocum, who eventually lost his congressional bid in the August primary, faced no retribution during the campaign.

In last fall’s presidential campaign, the group embraced ex-President Donald Trump’s words to them – “stand back and stand by” – as their instructions on how to proceed with their brutal form of dystopian politics.

Since the November election, members of the Proud Boys have participated in violent protests claiming the vote was stolen, more than half a dozen members have been arrested and charged by federal law enforcement for their role in the Capitol attack, and the Canadian government designated them as a terrorist group.

At the same time, Macomb County has become a magnet for radical pro-Trump groups and Republican right-wingers such as Londa Gatt and Daren Wiseley.

I wonder, are GOP activists in Macomb still proud of the Proud Boys?