As House Democrats proceeded with their impeachment inquiry of President Donad Trump, hundreds of Trump’s supporters traveled today to the nation’s capital, where they rallied and marched in support of the man they voted for in 2016.
Today’s “March for Trump” event in Washington coincided with associated events in 15 other states, according to event listings on the organizers’ website. It was organized and led by the 501c4 nonprofit Women for America First, which is led by Amy Kremer, the former chairwoman of the Tea Party Express PAC and an unsuccessful Republican candidate in the 2017 special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.
Multiple attendees told Right Wing Watch that the crowd size was expected to be larger, but that the bus company hired to transport Trump supporters up and down the east coast to Washington for the rally had abruptly cancelled. On the Facebook event page for the event, one woman said in a post that a group of women in Pittsburgh had received emails that the bus company cancelled their charters after a “bank card did not go through.” That didn’t stop some attendees from speculating, however, that darker forces were at work. One apparently frustrated person wrote on the event page, “Next time, do not deal with any service or vendor that can be payed off or manipulated by the left as obviously the case with the buses this morning.”
Julia Huynh wasn’t convinced that the bus company was being honest about its reason for the cancellation but said that it did not deter her from traveling three hours from Yorktown, Virginia, to attend the rally. Huynh said it was important to her that Trump was able to see that he is supported and to let liberals know they needed to “stop the witch hunt” because it was costing the country. When we asked Huynh if she believed the president had done anything wrong, she replied “absolutely not,” and on impeachment, Huynh said: “It’s nonsense, but I’m not surprised because [liberals are] willing to do anything to hurt the president.”
March for Trump rally-goers assembled first at Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington, blocks away from the White House. Soon afterward, Washington police escorted attendees as they paraded down Pennsylvania Avenue, past the Trump International Hotel, and toward the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. A few observing pedestrians gave the marchers visible thumbs-down as the group trotted past, but march participants responded with jubilation, chanting the president’s name. As they paraded toward the Capitol, participants chanted “Stop the coup!” and “Four more years!” and, when it sufficed, the president’s last name: “Trump, Trump, Trump!”
Right Wing Watch briefly spotted Patriot Prayer organizer Joey Gibson streaming the event from a cell phone among the rally participants, although Gibson did not speak at any of the rally’s events. Gibson is best-known for organizing rallies in Portland, Oregon, that have attracted members of right-wing extremist organizations and resulted in chaos and violence. Right Wing Watch was unsuccessful in locating Gibson at the Capitol after spotting him among marchers on Pennsylvania Avenue. Members of the extremist group Lyndon LaRouche PAC were also present at the March for Trump rally, fresh off a stunt during which a LaRouche group member attempted to derail a town hall meeting led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by posing as an AOC supporter advocating that people need to eat babies to reverse climate change.
When marchers arrived to join several more pro-Trump demonstrators on the West Lawn, they were treated to a harmonica rendition of the Star Spangled Banner performed by Andy Meehan, who traveled to the event from Pennsylvania, a state he hopes to one day represent in its 1st Congressional District. Meehan is running to replace Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, who Meehan said was one of the most “anti-Trump RINOs in the Congress.” (RINO is a common put-down in right-wing circles, and is an abbreviation for the phrase “Republican in name only.”) Meehan said that it was important to him that people were rallying in front of the Capitol, because it made their cause harder for elected officials to ignore.
Andy Meehan performed a harmonica rendition of the Star Spangled Banner before today’s “March for Trump” in D.C. pic.twitter.com/w2qYvZQdsV
— Jared Holt (@jaredlholt) October 17, 2019
“This whole impeachment thing is just a bunch of nonsense. It’s ginned up by a bunch of people like [Rep.] Adam Schiff and [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and these rats in the CIA and the FBI that have set up our president and tried to target him, plant evidence, ignore the evidence against his opponents, and use the weapons of government attack him,” Meehan said. “We’re not going to put up with it. We’re going to stand up for it.”
Meehan added, “We want our voices heard and we want the president to know that we’ve got his back and we’re going to stand up for him.”
After a delay and a quick prayer, the rally began and Kremer told those gathered that she believed Trump had “far exceeded” her expectations and “will go down as one of the greatest presidents in American history.” She urged Congress to stop the “witch hunt” against Trump and expressed concern for the president’s well-being.
“I worry about my president. Because I know [Sean] Hannity and Rush [Limbaugh] and everybody says, ‘Oh, he’s strong. He thrives on this stuff. He’s such a fighter. You don’t have to worry about him.’ But the reality is, he’s a human being just like you and I, and we all have a breaking point,” Kremer said.
She added, “I wanted to come here to show our president that he is not alone.”
Jonathan Gilliam, a former Navy SEAL and FBI agent, urged Trump supporters to be more active in fighting back against angry left-wing commenters online and to make more efforts to be politically active. After Gilliam, One America News correspondent and former “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec held a moment of silence for the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, who passed today, and delivered a speech about the nation’s need for togetherness and political tolerance, not impeachment. Human Events publisher Will Chamberlain theorized that House Democrats had launched the impeachment inquiry against Trump because they know that Democrats cannot defeat Trump electorally.
Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana told rally attendees that the impeachment inquiry against Trump was illegitimate because Trump is trying to root out corruption in government, unlike Hillary Clinton, who “cleaned the servers, beat the server down with a drum, she put bleach on it, she put it in a shredder—who knows what the hell she did with it,” referencing unsubstantiated claims popularized in right-wing media that have informed the president’s policy making. Afterward, Rep. John Rutherford of Florida declared that Democrats had denied Trump “due process” and that Trump had removed a “cabal” at the highest levels of the FBI.
Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia took the microphone and told attendees that there would be “four more years” of Trump, prompting chants. “There’s liberals all over the world cringing right now,” Collins said.
Matt Schlapp of the American Conservative Union, the organization that hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, took the stage after Collins and asked audience members to consider that the taxes they pay go toward the paychecks of intelligence agency officials who, Schlapp said, had acted like “political operatives of the socialists.” Schlapp asserted that the impeachment inquiry would not harm Trump as long as his supporters stood up against it.
Sebastian Gorka, former deputy assistant to the president turned pro-Trump radio host, told audience members: “We are witnesses to a coup. This is a coup—from John Brennan at the CIA, to James Comey at the FBI, and all the way up to Obama. This fake impeachment has one purpose: to nullify the votes of 63 million Americans.” Gorka reiterated his ask for Trump supporters to log on to social media platforms and post for the president.
The final phase of the day’s events involved sending pro-Trump activists through the halls of congressional office buildings to pester House Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry. A handful of rally attendees observed by Right Wing Watch followed through and went to the Rayburn House office building to confront Schiff in his office. Unfortunately for them, Schiff was not in his office. Instead they left a note for Schiff with a member of his staff.
While huddled around a woman writing the note to Schiff, one person’s eyes immediately latched onto a framed photograph of President Obama and Schiff. One woman posited that the image showed Schiff and Obama meeting in “the basement, plotting to overthrow the president of the United States. It’s very frightening.”
The Daily Beast reporter Will Sommer witnessed a similar group inside Pelosi’s office, talking to an office staffer and “accusing him of not taking down what they’re saying.”
As I head out, a woman, convinced that Pelosi is behind a closed meeting room door, begins to whisper “stop the coup!” through the crack in the door.
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) October 17, 2019