Billing it as “the largest Trump rally in U.S. history,” an aggregation of red-hatted Donald Trump fanatics—comprised almost entirely of far-right extremists of a variety of stripes, working alongside ostensibly mainstream conservatives—have organized what they hope will be a massive demonstration of support for the defeated president Saturday in Washington, D.C.: the “Million MAGA March.”
The list of “prominent attendees” touted by organizers for the event is a virtual who’s who of the white-nationalist far right, and leading far-right figures and organizations have been organizing and ardently promoting it, not least being conspiracy-meister Alex Jones and his Infowars operation. The message of the whole event, in the words of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes: “We must refuse to EVER recognize this as a legitimate election, and refuse to recognize Biden as a legitimate winner, and refuse to ever recognize him as the president of the United States.”
As Politico’s Tina Nguyen reports, the Saturday’s march from the Supreme Court building and down the National Mall is largely the coalescence of several fronts of interconnected pro-Trump activism—primarily the conspiracy-fueled “Stop the Steal” rallies that have been organized on Facebook to protest the election results at voting centers and state capitals, and those “Trump train” caravans featuring dozens of banner-flapping pickup trucks and accompanying thuggish behavior that became endemic in the closing weeks of the 2020 campaign.
The organizers are incorporating the “Trump train” concept into the Saturday event by sponsoring and promoting a cross-country “Million MAGA March” caravan, which they claim “will be driving through the entire country and arriving this weekend to protest the contested election.” The route being promoted, however, only originates in Texas and drives through the South and up through Georgia and the Carolinas to reach Washington.
The entire event, culminating Saturday in D.C., is the product of an open coalition between far-right MAGA-loving Trump supporters, conspiracy theorists/scam artists, and the outright white nationalists who have assiduously wormed their way into mainstream right-wing politics.
On one end of the spectrum, the “Million MAGA March” is supported by Students for Trump (whose president, Ryan Fournier, angrily claimed that “Big Tech is out to take down this President” after EventBrite removed the page for the planned D.C. event) and “Truckers for Trump,” a social-media-based entity who also are threatening to organize a nationwide long-haulers’ strike after Thanksgiving.
At the other end are Nick Fuentes, the white nationalist social-media figure who leads the so-called “Groyper Army” of open anti-Semites and bigots, and his frequent cohort Michelle Malkin, who has managed to reinvent herself as an unapologetic white nationalist in recent years, as well as the heavily armed “Patriots” of Rhodes’ Oath Keepers’ outfit, which has been vowing “civil war” in the streets since August. The Saturday “march” is also being heavily promoted on white supremacist sites like The Daily Stormer and Stormfront.
Fuentes promoted the event on Parler: “[W]e will rally in DC this weekend. GROYPERS ARE GOING TO STOP THIS COUP!,” he wrote. On Twitter, he called the event “MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE.” A popular white-nationalist livestreamer named Ethan Ralph announced he would host his show “The Killstream” at the event.
At the Trump-endorsed One America News Network, “reporter” Jack Posobiec—exposed this summer by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a highly active white nationalist with deep connections throughout the movement, as well as a million followers on Twitter—eagerly promoted the Saturday event with Kristi Kremer of Women for America First, which is credited with first promoting the “Stop the Steal” hashtag.
Like Rhodes and Oath Keepers, Alex Jones and Infowars have been especially active in promoting both the D.C. event and the accompanying cross-country “Trump Caravan” leading up to it. Infowars’ Owen Schroyer has held events at each stop. On his daily show, Jones proclaimed: “So don’t worry, President Trump. The cavalry is coming.” Biden’s election—which he insists only occurred through fraud—is the final apocalyptic straw for Jones, who concluded:
We must not comply. This is the final assault. It’s the takeover. And it’s here.
And on Telegram, white nationalist Brien James—cofounder of the far-right street-brawling gang American Guard—posted a promotional video for the Million MAGA March that featured a neo-Nazi theme song being played with a stream of far-right messages over the event’s logo.
As Politico notes, the organizers have failed to file for any permits for the event, which has been alternatively dubbed the March for Trump and Stop the Steal DC. So it remains unclear how many people may show up, particularly given past far-right fizzles. However, researchers have estimated “anywhere from several hundred to several thousand may show up.”
Moreover, it probably will serve as a model for what we’ll see from the extremist right over the coming weeks leading up to Inauguration Day, as Nguyen observes: “Activists throughout the far-right universe, from MAGA celebrities to policy wonks to conspiracy theorists, are exploring how to use the final two-plus months of Trump’s presidency to undermine President-elect Joe Biden, vocally support Trump’s court challenges to the election, confront antifa, and maybe, just maybe, help keep the current president in office.”
Jared Holt of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab explains that not everyone at the event will be a white nationalist or extremist, “but this event is generating a fair amount of chatter in extremist communities online that we're monitoring.”
“It is solely designed to create disruption, and possibly chaos. It's basically a giant online comment troll come into life,” Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, told Politico.
The lineup of “prominent attendees” featured in organizers’ promotional posts is revealing. In addition to Jones, Posobiec, Fuentes, Shroyer, and Malkin, far-right conspiracist Mike Cernovich is included, along with Jaden McNeil—a young man whose sole claim to fame is getting expelled from Kansas State for posting a vicious tweet about George Floyd after his murder by police—and Ashley St. Clair, best known for being expelled from the conservative campus group Turning Point USA after she posed with white nationalists.
But just in case anyone should accuse these white nationalists of being racist, they of course includeD two African American entertainment acts—pro-Trump rapper Bryson Gray, and the far-right Hodge Twins—on the list.
The underlying beliefs animating both the Saturday march and the mounting far-right resistance to Biden’s election were voiced by Rhodes at the Oath Keepers website:
This election was stolen and this is a communist/Deep State coup, every bit as corrupt and illegitimate as what is done in third world banana republics. … This election was stolen by corrupt, law-breaking Democrat partisans on the ground, and by the manipulation of the CIA created HAMMR (“Hammer”) and Scorecard programs.
Rhodes also urged Trump to refuse to concede: “President Trump must refuse to recognize it as legitimate because it is not legitimate,” he wrote, adding that “by President Trump refusing to concede, he is stopping a coup rather than engaging in one.”
Posted with permission from Daily Kos.