On Saturday, December 12, 2020, Donald Trump supporters came on Washington to protest the alleged election rigging.
Though the primary site was meant to be the Supreme Court, demonstrators were dispersed between Freedom Plaza, the National Mall, the Capitol, and the Court, with some marching from one location to another and others protesting in a single location.
The gathering was estimated to be between 12,000 and 15,000 people by most news outlets, although the Secret Service indicated that just 3,000 people attended.
The typical lineup of speakers took the stage during the major gathering in front of the Court. Alex Jones yelled his usual venomous mix of election claims and conspiracy fantasies. “Joe Biden is a globalist, and Joe Biden will be removed one way or another,” he said.
Michael Flynn, a retired general, stepped out, claiming that Donald Trump will be re-elected for a second term. “We’re living in a crucible period in American history,” he remarked. “The courts will not determine who the next President of the United States will be.” We, the people, make the decision.
“Destroy the GOP!” “Destroy the GOP!” he yelled.
Ali Alexander (born Ali Abdul-Razaq Akbar), the founder of Stop the Steal, said that those gathered should prepare to take action to safeguard the country if, “God forbid,” the electoral college validated Biden on December 14.
Katrina Pierson, Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign’s national spokeswoman, also spoke. “We will utilize [the Courts] to the very end. And if that does not work, we will take our country back,” She said.
Sebastian Gorka, podcaster David Harris Jr., Nick Fuentes, and Mike Lindell were among others who were onstage.
Stewart Rhodes, the leader of Oath Keeper, was the major motivator for his appearance on stage. He urged Trump to use the Insurrection Act, warning that failure to do so would result in a “much more bloody war.”
In the throng was Daniel Paul Gray, who would eventually be charged for his involvement in the January 6 demonstrations. Throughout the day, he updated his Facebook statuses. “Militia finna be lit y’all!!!, and, Shits about to get lit y’all. I’m actually really excited at the possibility of the insurrection act being implemented,” he wrote.
In another tweet, he appeared to allude to forthcoming demonstrations on January 6 (before Donald Trump’s gathering and speech were confirmed). “Here is the move y’all. If they intend to certify a false election its gonna have to be to our faces,” he wrote.
Many Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and QAnon members were present during the demonstration. Proud Boys members, many of whom were dressed in paramilitary trappings including as body armor and military clothes, as well as their characteristic yellow and black shirts, received resounding applause.
Later that evening, after the gathering had dispersed, Proud Boys members prowled the streets, assaulting people they mistook for Antifa and Black Lives Matter supporters. Two Proud Boys and a Metropolitan Police Department officer were among those attacked. Protesters marched on DC churches and set fire to a Black Lives Matter banner displayed by the Asbury Methodist Church, one of the city’s oldest Black congregations. Authorities eventually charged Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio with burning a Black Lives Matter flag. The footage posted shows Proud Boys squirting lighter fluid.
Here is djr with Enrique Tarrio, a leader of the right-wing extremist group the Proud Boys, who pleaded guilty to burning a Black Lives Matter flag and possessing a large-capacity ammunition feeding device, federal prosecutors said.
Oh, and Cruz, and Stone.
Felons begets felons pic.twitter.com/qNCEEAIz2k
— Just Me (@myweiredworld) July 28, 2021
According to the Anti-Defamation League, a Proud Boys member struck a counter-protester while yelling “Fucking Jew.” Other sources claim that the participants displayed a white nationalist symbol.
Asbury’s pastor, Reverend Ianther M. Mills, characterized the actions as “reminiscent of cross burnings” and expressed regret that local police had failed to interfere.
Nene Taylor, a co-organizer with Black Lives Matter, said local radio station WTOP, “I hold Mayor Bowser responsible for this.”
“If Black people and people of color acted like this, they would have done what they’ve done since [the] George Floyd demonstrations began,” she added. “Tear gassing us, beating us, and arresting us. That happened to none of the Proud Boys. The police was around and they done nothing to the white supremacists.”
Tarrio subsequently claimed that the incident was motivated by anything other than racism “BLM is a Marxist movement,” adding, “the burning of this banner wasn’t about race, religion or political ideology. It was about a racist movement that has terrorized the citizens of this country.” He was alluding to the demonstrations that erupted during the summer.
Overall, 33 people were arrested for assault on a police officer, simple assault, riotous behavior, possession of a banned weapon (a taser), and crossing a police line.
Tarrio had time throughout the day to visit the White House, prompting many leftist conspiracy theorists to suspect that he met with President Trump. According to a White House official, Obama was giving the public a tour of the mansion’s Christmas decorations.
The events of the day seemed to mark a fundamental schism between the Proud Boys and police enforcement. According to a Combating Terrorism Center at West Point article about the Proud Boys, “for years, the organization heavily promoted the ‘Blue Lives Matter’ narrative and movement, framing itself as pro-police and as standing side-by-side against their perceived shared adversary (Antifa and Marxism), only to turn on police just before the January 6 rally in Washington, D.C., stating ‘the police are starting to become a problem,’ even though ‘we’ve had their back for years.’
On his approach to the Army-Navy football game at West Point that day, President Trump boarded a Marine One helicopter from the White House’s south lawn. He ordered the chopper to fly above the gathering around 3 p.m., tweeting: “Oh my goodness! Thousands of protesters have gathered in Washington, D.C. for Stop the Steal. I had no idea about this, but I’ll be watching them!”
When Trump and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly arrived at the football game, they were joined in the VIP box by Congressional leaders Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, as well as Pentagon leaders including acting Secretary Chris Miller, his deputy Kash Patel, and Army Gen. Mark Milley, the joint chiefs of staff chairman.
Trump, Milley, and other officials of the administration made their way to the middle of Michie Stadium, where the commander-in-chief would toss a coin to decide which side would begin on offense. Except for Trump, everyone in the group was wearing a mask.
The Hudson River was cloudy that day, and the crowd was slightly decreased due to COVID. However, the audience, which was primarily made up of cadets and senior Defense Department executives, erupted.
“USA! USA!” they yelled.
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