TPUSA Promotes John Guandolo’s Call for Right-Wing Activists to Bully and Harass Political Opponents

A new film produced by the right-wing youth organization Turning Point USA spotlights radical right-wing conspiracy theorist John Guandolo urging sheriffs to take the law into their own hands and resist federal authority.

Guandolo is a former FBI agent who resigned in 2009 “before the bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility could question him about his sexual liaisons” with a star witness in a government corruption case as well as “with women FBI agents,” according to a report from The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate.

Following his resignation, Guandolo became a radical right-wing conspiracy theorist and anti-Islam activist who now runs an organization called Understanding The Threat through which he trains law enforcement agencies around the country to identify seemingly anyone with dark skin and a beard as an Islamic terrorist. Guandolo is so radical that in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, he praised insurrectionists for showing restraint by not publicly executing lawmakers, most of whom he claimed are “traitors” who should be “swinging from a rope.”

But in “The Enemy Within: FBI Whistleblower,” Turning Point USA portrays Guandolo as a brave “FBI whistleblower” dedicated to exposing the “undiscussed network of jihadists and communists that have worked together to undermine America at its root for decades.”

During the documentary, Guandolo discussed his efforts to train local right-wing activists take over their towns, throw their mayors in jail, and ruin the lives of anyone who dares to oppose them. As part of this effort, Guandolo said that sheriffs and average citizens must work together to physically prevent the FBI or federal government from operating in their towns and to drive uncooperative companies out of business.

“Just recently in Texas, FBI raids a guy’s house, saying he was somehow involved in Jan. 6 and all this nonsense. The local sheriff does nothing,” Guandolo griped. “And in response to citizens asking the sheriff, ‘Why didn’t you intervene?’ He’s like, ‘Well, it’s out of my hands. It’s a federal matter.’ The answer is it’s your frickin’ county, it’s your jurisdiction, it’s your responsibility! The fact that you’re unprofessional—and the fact that you’re too scared or cowardly to do your duty—that’s the problem. Citizens have to hold their local officials culpable.”

“Let’s look at what that looks like in reality,” Guandolo continued. “When the FBI shows up at a citizen’s home, whether they’re given a head’s up or [not]—now, if they’re given a head’s up, the sheriff immediately calls local FBI and says, ‘No, you’re not doing that. Before you do anything in my county, I want to see it. And if you show up without notifying me, I’m going to put 20 deputies in front of this guy’s house, and you’re not going in. And we will physically block you because it’s wrong. And we’ll call citizens that we work with in the community, and we’ll have 100 or 200 of them out there because what you’re doing is wrong, and I’m not going to tolerate it. And by the way, I’m the law in this county, not you.'”

“What you’re doing is unjust, and so we’re not going to allow it in our county,” Guandolo added, “You can do that with the banks that are doing financing of these groups. ‘Hey, you want to finance communist China through [Black Lives Matter]? Then your bank will shut down in our county. We’re shutting this branch down, so if you want to operate, then you need to shut this off. You’ve got two hours.’ And there are a lot of ways to do it, a lot of ways to make people unwelcome. And if that makes people listening or viewing what we’re doing right here uncomfortable, then all I would ask is, that’s fine that you’re uncomfortable, get out of the way because there’s a war on, and we don’t need you in the middle if you’re not sure what’s actually going on.”

Guandolo echoes talking points put forth by extremists like Richard Mack, the founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, which teaches that “the power of the sheriff even supersedes the powers of the president” and urges local law enforcement to resist federal authority. This false idea that the sheriff holds supreme authority has increased in popularity among right-wing activists who would like to see sheriffs conduct more audits of the 2020 presidential election and be more involved in future elections.

This film—and Turning Point USA’s heroic portrayal of the extremist Guandolo—is noteworthy for another reason: It shows just how far to the right the youth organization has become.

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