With Joe Biden inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States on the same steps that right-wing extremists had charged up to storm the U.S. Capitol less than two weeks ago, reality hit some right-wing activists and extremists: Trump was out of office, and their campaign to keep him there was fruitless. But while some recognized defeat, others were keen to press new conspiracy theories, cling to old ones, and double down on their attacks.
Far-right activist Jack Posobiec was not feeling Biden’s message of unity. Posobiec continued pushing the conspiracy theory that conservatives were being hunted and that Biden would impose martial law. In numerous tweets, he compared Biden to President Snow, the despotic character in “The Hunger Games” book and movie series. “I can’t wait for the Unity Trials to start!” he tweeted. In another, he wrote, “Mao promoted unity too.”
Posobiec wasn’t the only one attacking calls for unity. The right-wing Catholic Vote sent out a message shortly after Biden’s inaugural address: “In his inaugural address, President Biden spoke of the need for unity. He’s right, America is divided like never before. The cheap excuse offered by the media and the Left is to blame President Trump and his supporters. Yet anyone paying attention knows Joe Biden and the progressive Left have divided America based on race, gender, income, religion, and more for decades.”
Others directed their anger at their former hero. In response to a question about whether Trump unsealed any indictments, issued last minute pardons, or declassified anything Wednesday morning, Cassandra Fairbanks, a far-right activist who has defended white supremacists and made racist comments, replied, “Let me answer all of that for you in trumps favorite medium,” and tweeted a video featuring the lyrics, “He went out like a bitch!” Banks, who has deep ties to Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange, was infuriated Trump chose not to pardon Assange.
Let me answer all of that for you in trumps favorite medium https://t.co/9d4qb2nsjP
— Cassandra Fairbanks (@CassandraRules) January 20, 2021
Far-right activist Mike Cernovich, who was involved in the early stages of the so-called Stop the Steal movement, retweeted Banks. In another tweet early Wednesday morning, Banks, in a surprising moment of clarity, agreed with a Twitter user who claimed all Trump had done was enrich himself and pardoned his friends and associates.
Cernovich for his part, made fun of QAnon adherents proved wrong by Biden’s inauguration and picked up the thread Posobiec had put down, claiming that there was about to be “24/7 coverage of white supremacy terrorism” and that the “country is about to go into a media induced panic attack and you’re the object of obsession now.”
Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio told his followers on Telegram, “Biden is getting inaugurated while the opposition is getting arrested.”
Others declared that evil won. Angela Stanton-King, a QAnon candidate who ran for the late John Lewis’ seat, claimed “this is Hell right here on earth.”
“Stop with the God is gonna save us. No he’s not… it’s judgement time. It’s over!” she said in another tweet.
Radical right-wing pastor Greg Locke labeled Biden a “wicked fool”: “It’s been 2 hours and this wicked fool has already started changing our alliance with Israel. All you phony Christ followers that voted for Biden need to own this evil.” Locke also urged Trump supporters to hold the line and continued to push the conspiracy theory that Trump won the election.
On Telegram, pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood, who encouraged Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act and pushed QAnon conspiracy theories, told his followers: “I have prayed today for peace of mind for all of you who have supported truth and may be in turmoil after the events of the day.” He also shared an unverified image of a note Trump supposedly left Biden, reading, “Joe, you know I won.” Trump did, in fact, leave Biden a note, but considering Biden told reporters that “The president wrote a very generous letter,” it’s unlikely to be the one Wood shared.
Later that evening, Wood attempted to defend himself and his conspiracy theories in a series of messages, claiming, “I have never guaranteed that the information I provided you was 100% accurate.” He also rejected the notion that he was to blame for the losses in the Georgia Senate runoff elections, despite calling on Republicans to boycott the elections if their elected officials did not support Stop the Steal’s strategy to keep Trump in power. He described Inauguration Day as “nonsense” and appeared to express disappointment in Trump: “We appear to have turned our government over to communism. I do not believe President Trump would ever do so without a fight to the finish.”
Stephen Miller, who has shared white nationalist material and was the architect behind the Trump administration’s immigration policy that separated kids from their parents, was ratioed on Twitter after misleadingly criticizing the Biden administration’s plans for immigration.
Scott Presler, who also was a leading activist in the Stop the Steal movement, also focused his criticism on immigration: “If you want to stop Biden from giving 11 million illegal immigrants citizenship … then contact your senators.” On Monday, Presler jumped on the narrative that Republicans were being persecuted and called for states to “pass anti-discrimination laws, which make political affiliation a protected class.”