Wednesday, January 20, 2021

White Supremacists Didn't Organize The Rallies Or Protest Preceding The Capitol Hill Desecration...,

WaPo |  The fiery rallies that preceded the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 were organized and promoted by an array of established conservative insiders and activists, documents and videos show.

The Republican Attorneys General Association was involved, as were the activist groups Turning Point Action and Tea Party Patriots. At least six current or former members of the Council for National Policy (CNP), an influential group that for decades has served as a hub for conservative and Christian activists, also played roles in promoting the rallies.

The two days of rallies were staged not by white nationalists and other extremists, but by well-funded nonprofit groups and individuals that figure prominently in the machinery of conservative activism in Washington.

In recent days, as federal authorities rounded up those involved in the Capitol riot, promoters and participants of the rallies have denounced the violence and sought to distance their events from the events that followed.

“I support the right of Americans to peacefully protest,” wrote Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), “but the violence and destruction we are seeing at the U.S. Capitol is unacceptable and un-American.”

Organizing warm-up events is not the same thing as plotting to invade the Capitol. But before the rallies, some used extreme rhetoric, including references to the American Revolution, and made false claims about the election to rouse supporters to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Unless Congress responds to the protests, “everyone can guess what me and 500,000 others will do to that building,” tweeted Ali Alexander, a former CNP fellow who organized the “Stop the Steal” movement. “1776 is *always* an option.”

On Jan. 5, at Freedom Plaza in D.C., Alexander led protesters in a chant of “Victory or death.”

Alexander did not respond to a request for comment for this story. He previously told The Washington Post that he had “remained peaceful” during the riot and said his earlier speeches “mentioned peace” and were being misrepresented.

“Conflating our legally, peaceful permitted events with the breach of the US Capitol building is defamatory and false,” he said in an email to The Post. “People are being misled and then those same people are fomenting violence against me and my team.”

In the days and hours before the riots, Alexander and his allies attracted tens of thousands of protesters from around the country — a crowd that included white supremacists, Christian activists and even local police officers.

Events included a “Patriot Caravan” of buses to Washington, a “Save the Republic” rally on Jan. 5 and a “Freedom Rally” on the morning of Jan. 6. A little-known nonprofit called Women for America First, a group run by Trump supporters and former tea party activists, got approval to use space on the Ellipse for what they called a “March for Trump,” according to the “public gathering permit” issued on Jan. 5.