'March For Trump' in Austin features Northwest 'Patriot' Joey Gibson, but thin crowds accompany the usual lurking far-right elements.
Faced with declining crowd sizes on his home turf in the Northwest, “Patriot Prayer” leader Joey Gibson took his far-right “free speech rally” act on the road Saturday, all the way to Texas. However, it was not the solution to his problem.
A crowd estimated at about 100 turned out Saturday in downtown Austin to participate in a “March 4 Trump,” ending with a gathering on the steps of the state Capitol while a procession of speakers —including Gibson, as well as an unintentionally comedic pair of “millennial conservatives” — held forth.
They encountered a steady stream of small groups of counter-protesters, including some black-clad “antifascists” who were kept separated from the rallygoers by police barricades. And joining the marchers’ ranks, as at most Patriot Prayer events organized on the West Coast, were a number of identifiable white nationalists and neo-Confederate groups. Some waved Confederate flags.
Police made two arrests, both reportedly of right-wing Trump supporters. One counter-protester described for Austin’s Fox 7 News how he was assaulted while holding a sign on a downtown street before the march, observing a group of men waving Dixie battle flags.
“As I was standing there holding my sign, and the Confederate flags walked by, a man runs in from behind, hits me on the back of the head, grabs me by the hair, and starts punching me in the face, more than 10 times, probably,” said the victim. “At that point he starts kneeing me, right in the face, splitting open my eyebrow, and attacked me essentially for my activism.”
The victim identified his assailants to Hatewatch as members of a local group called the Texas Confederate Militia. The militia’s leader, a Houston man named Jason Southern, has previously posted sympathetically about James Alex Fields, the white nationalist accused of driving a car into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August. The Texas Confederate Militia had previously helped organize an anti-immigrant rally in Texas in January.
Along the way, someone was also handing out fliers for the explicitly neo-Nazi organization Patriot Front to rally observers.
The pro-Trump rally on the Capitol steps wound up with a smattering of listeners, including reporters from Infowars (who breathlessly reported on the march every step of the way, seemingly in hopes of spotting left-wing violence) and Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, a fixture at Patriot Prayer events who spoke to an Infowars reporter and said he was there “looking for antifa.”
Gibson — who recently announced his intention to run for the U.S. Senate as a Republican in Washington state — tried out his latest avenue of appeal on the Austin audience: Namely, calling for a “second revolution” that recruits dissatisfied citizens from the left as well as right.
As has been the case in recent events, Gibson’s speech was more incoherent than invigorating, drawing only a smattering of applause, except for those moments when he unabashedly expressed his contempt for “liberals” and “SJWs.” But then he followed that by saying: “We in this revolution, we gotta take this revolution to the next level. We don’t wanna have to pull out our guns. But in order to take it to the next level, we gotta reach out to the left. We have so many moderate Democrats who think they’re Democrats but they’re not. The Democrat Party has gone so far left, they have lost their mind.”
Far more popular with the crowd were Haley Adams and Ashton Whitty, two young “conservative millennials” from Berkeley, California, who had traveled to Austin to participate. They finished the day’s speaking events with a roaring attack on feminists, which was nearly derailed mid-speech when a tiff nearly erupted over the cell phone that Adams wound up reading from.
But according to Whitty, the problem they saw for their generation extended beyond feminists:
It isn’t just women. It is the black communities. It is the Mexican immigrants. The same people that are using – ironically enough, most of those antifa kids are white – the reality is, they are trying to use these groups against us. They are putting us in smaller boxes to make us feel weaker, making us easier to control. And millennials are one of those boxes. The only difference with millennials is that they are your voters. They are the future. And if you want to keep this country intact, with every right under the Bill of Rights, teach your children.
Adams wrapped it up with one of her favorite lines: “Women, it’s time to get back into the kitchen! Where you belong!”
Afterward, Whitty slyly directed a wink-and-nod at the fascist Patriot Front fliers by posting a video of her puppy — while holding one of the fliers in her hand, just along the edge of the camera’s view for everyone to see. When she was called out for it, she vigorously denied doing any such thing and protested both her innocence and that of the rally organizers.
“The most fake of fake news!” she wrote. “This was for a march in Austin with Texans United for America, not only one of the most diverse groups I’ve ever met, but a group that has disavowed the Vangaurd [sic] multiple times.”