The Mother of All Rallies, the pro-Trump “patriot” rally that attracted far-right extremists last year, featured surprise guests at this year’s event last weekend, including failed U.S. Senate candidate from Arizona Joe Arpaio and GOP operative Roger Stone, who arrived on site with an entourage of members from the Proud Boys hate group.
While last year’s Mother of All Rallies brought out an underwhelming showing, this year produced the same as only about 200 people— including event organizers, speakers, reporters and supporters—gathered on the National Mall on Saturday.
Stone, who is a focus of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible ties between Trump associates and Russian officials, stopped by the rally for an unscheduled appearance and told attendees they were the “tip of the spear” and the “cutting edge of the counter-revolution,” borrowing mainstay lines from his frequent appearances on the conspiracy theory outlet Infowars.
“Let me say one thing about Russian collusion: It’s bullshit,” Stone said, to applause. “It’s a canard, it’s a fraud, it’s a left-wing conspiracy theory.”
He went on to label Mueller “illegitimate” and suggested Mueller may have covered up the deaths of inmates who were imprisoned to conceal ties between the FBI and the mob. Stone also claimed he will not be indicted, but that he might be “framed,” though he promised not to flip on Trump.
Event organizers said they met Arpaio at the Trump International Hotel in Washington the night before the event and that he had agreed to speak at their rally. Arpaio’s speech was brief, but he did tell the crowd that he was turning over his unused campaign funds to Trump’s re-election efforts.
While most of the event attendees appeared to be standard-issue Trump supporters, the rally—as it did last year—also contained several hardcore extremists.
Running security were clusters of people wearing insignias of anti-government militia groups, including the Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and the Light Foot Militia. The latter group’s Pennsylvania branch was named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the City of Charlottesville, Virginia, after the melee sparked by the 2017 Unite the Right event—a lawsuit they resolved by “agreeing not to return to Charlottesville to engage in coordinated armed activity during rallies and protests.”
At this year’s Mother of All Rallies event, News2Share filmed members of American Guard, a group of white supremacists. American Guard was founded by Brien James, who was also in attendance. The Anti-Defamation League reported that James was also a founder of a violent skinhead gang called the Vinlanders Social Club whose members and affiliates have been responsible for at least nine murders. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that in 2000, James punched and stomped a man “to the brink of death at a party for refusing to seig heil,” and that James had bragged about multiple trials he faced for attempted murder, batteries and hate crimes.
Also among those in the crowd this year was Jovi Val, a far-right activist who, for a brief moment, rose to fame in online pro-Trump circles after he was attacked with a glass bottle in a New York City bar fight over his wearing of a Trump hat. Since then, he’s been showing up at far-right rallies like the “Speak English Please” rally in New York City and has proven himself to be inflammatory enough to get reportedly denounced by CRTV host Gavin McInnes. The video host, who also founded the Proud Boys, now claims that Val is not a member of his group despite the fact he had previously identified Val as such. Val was spotted last month in Washington amongst the neo-Nazis attending the anniversary event of Unite the Right.
The event ended early due to rain.