'Mother of All Rallies' comes to D.C. a second time, hoping to top last year's underwhelming showing

The “Mother of All Rallies” (MOAR) returns to the National Mall Saturday, and the event has drawn attention from groups representing a swath of far-right ideologies, including antigovernment "Patriots" and militia groups, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant agitators, and possibly the MAGA-clad street fighters of Joey Gibson’s Patriot Prayer.

Last year, MOAR rallygoers had to compete for attention when thousands of Insane Clown Posse fans, or Juggalos, came to the capital to protest an FBI report that they said unfairly characterized their group as a gang. The Juggalo march dwarfed the right-wingers and dominated the news cycle.

This year, rally organizer “Tommy Gunn” has advertised an ambitious program featuring more than 10 straight hours of speakers and entertainment. It’s not clear how many of the people listed on the schedule will actually show up.

The event has attracted enthusiasm from the antigovernment movement, including from militia groups that, like last year, intend to provide private security for the event. George Curbelo of the New York Light Foot Militia apparently plans to take a leading role, posting in the MOAR Facebook group: “On behalf of the Militias attending for security, we’re looking forward to MOAR!”

George Curbelo post on Facebook
George Curbelo's post in the MOAR Facebook group.

Curbelo will be joined by Christian Yingling and Luigi Dario Porcelli, who belong to the Pennsylvania and New Jersey state chapters, respectively, of the Light Foot Militia, and Danny Bollinger of the Maryland-based militia, My Brother’s Threepers.

Curbelo, Yingling, Porcelli and Bollinger all attended the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year. Curbelo and Yingling, and their associated Light Foot units, have recently signed a legal consent decree that permanently forbids them from entering Charlottesville “as part of a unit of two or more persons acting in concert while armed with a firearm, weapon, shield, or any item whose purpose is to inflict bodily harm, at any demonstration, rally, protest, or march.”

The event lists Tim Foley, the leader of the Arizona Border Recon militia, as a speaker. Foley’s activities on the southern U.S. border tracking what he and his group say are undocumented immigrants and drug dealers have occasionally attracted law enforcement attention. The FBI investigated Foley in 2011, after he allegedly said he had planted improvised explosive devices in the desert near the border, although they never brought charges. Foley has also said he believed his actions along the border could turn into a shooting war.

The MOAR speaker lineup also includes Joey Gibson of Patriot Prayer, the group that alongside the Proud Boys holds regular right-wing rallies in the Pacific Northwest that frequently descend into violence. Gibson has refrained from promoting the rally on his social media channels in recent days, putting his attendance into question.

Vincent James Foxx is scheduled to speak Saturday as well. Through his media outlet, the Red Elephants, Foxx gives a platform to white nationalists and members of the radical right. An investigation by ProPublica revealed his favorable coverage of the white supremacist street fighting group Rise Above Movement, including videos from the violent rallies in 2017 in Berkeley where Foxx can be heard egging the brawlers on to assault people.

Scott Presler of ACT for America is also slated to give remarks. ACT is the largest anti-Muslim hate group currently operating in the U.S. The group spreads falsehoods about Islam and traffics in conspiracies that allege a scheme by Muslims to take over the U.S. government.

Representing the anti-immigrant faction of the radical right is Genevieve Peters, an active anti-immigrant agitator who this spring attended city council meetings across Southern California lobbying lawmakers to oppose California’s sanctuary state status. The group accompanying her to these meetings, which pushed measures backed by the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform, was frequently disruptive. In the video accompanying one event, Peters yelled, “Go back to the hellhole you came from!” at a woman and her small children.

Harim Vargas aka Harim Uziel, who calls himself a “Hardcore American Patriot,” was also a fixture at the anti-sanctuary demonstrations, and he joins Peters again as a scheduled speaker at MOAR. Early this year he was booted from two American Airlines flights and escorted from the airport for harassing other passengers. During the incident, he declared, “I’ll be a martyr, ‘cause I love America and I love Trump,” and told his viewers on Facebook: “My patriots, I will not commit suicide. So if I’m found dead, it’s not me. But I’m willing to die, right here and now — for America. I love America.”

Rounding out the speaker list is Minnesota native Corey Stewart, who is running for U.S. Senate in Virginia as the Republican nominee. Despite his roots in the Gopher State, one of his major platforms is his defense of Confederate monuments. He also drew fire for his praise of antisemitic congressional candidate Paul Nehlen, whom he officially disavowed in June.

This event is the last in a chain of far-right gatherings in the capital this week. It began with the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event and continued Friday with a demonstration by the group Angel Families, which, under the guise of honoring loved ones killed by undocumented immigrants, reinforces the repeatedly debunked falsehood that immigrants are more likely to commit violent crime.

Without the Juggalos around to steal their limelight the MOAR rally has a chance Saturday finally to live up to its name. But this time it might not be Insane Clown Posse fans raining on the far-right parade — it might just be actual rain. D.C. forecasts for the weekend predict showers all day.

Photo by AP Images/Kevin Wolf

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