An uncomfortable moment unfolded on “The View” Friday as co-host Sunny Hostin scolded token conservative Alyssa Farah Griffin for professing past ignorance of the far-right Proud Boys group.
Griffin, who has gone from top Donald Trump White House aide to staunch critic of the former president, said she had learned Trump had to be taken seriously and literally with his public remarks, such as his comments to radio host Hugh Hewitt predicting “big problems” in the country if he was indicted by the Department of Justice. Some critics took those words as an ominous threat of violence from his supporters.
“He uses language intentionally to reach certain audiences,” Griffin said, going on to reference the 2020 debate moment when Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by. “Honestly, I’d never even heard of the Proud Boys, but I was like, there’s something weird about it, and it was very clearly in retrospect after January 6, was meant to tell them, you are my guys, stand by.”
Hostin jumped in to note at the time Trump said that, Griffin worked in the White House and said in an interview there was no need for Trump to “clarify” his remarks. “This president has surged federal resources when violent crime warrants it in cities,” she told Fox News host Sandra Smith in 2020.
“Honestly, I’ve talked about this before. I didn’t know what it meant,” Griffin said. “It wasn’t honestly until it came together and the Proud Boys started organizing and came out and violently protested –”
Hostin interrupted Griffin, saying, “That’s so odd to me, because I think if you hear someone telling a White supremacist group that is known for violence stand by –”
“But I didn’t even know who they were, did you know who the Proud Boys were at that point?” Griffin said.
Hostin replied she was “in the business of knowing these things.” The Proud Boys have received extensive media attention, particularly for members who participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
“I think Black people need to know enemies of people of color,” Hostin said. “But when you have clearly a supremacist and, quite frankly, not to push too much on you, it was your job to know about that, right, as press secretary. But why would you not think that that’s crazy?”
Hostin incorrectly referred to Griffin as Trump’s “press secretary” – she served as Trump’s communications director throughout most of his final year in office, before that serving as Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary and the Pentagon’s spokesperson.
Griffin said she was never briefed on the Proud Boys despite being briefed on “a ton” of violent, extremist groups while in the administration.
“I regret that… It didn’t mean anything to me,” she said.
Griffin often discusses her time in the Trump administration and touts resigning before the Capitol riot, and she has become one of several former Trumpworld figures who’ve become vociferous foes.
The tense moment underscored the difficult tightrope Griffin walks as the new token conservative co-host of the show.
Some media progressives, such as MSNBC’s Tiffany Cross, balked at Griffin’s hiring because she worked enthusiastically in top Trump administration positions for nearly his entire term, while some conservatives are skeptical of her since she often joins in on Republican-bashing during her “View” appearances.