After whipping up fears that violent protesters were being bussed in across the country — leading the nation’s largest antigovernment militia group to issue an urgent “Call to Action” — only a handful of supporters of Lt. General Michael Flynn appeared outside the U.S. District Courthouse Tuesday for Flynn’s scheduled sentencing.
Singing “God Bless America” and waiving pro-Flynn signs, the gaggle of supporters was a far cry from the promises from far-right leaders that a “cadre of patriots from around the country” would appear in force, according to Dec. 8 statement issued by John B. Wells, the host of a couple of far-right podcasts.
Wells claimed in his statement that Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the antigovernment group Oath Keepers, told him that “Oath Keepers will be there to protect the people” from violent protesters.
On Dec. 14, Rhodes issued a formal call for members to gather in Washington for Flynn’s court appearance.
“Antifa is expected to be there and may attempt to silence by force and intimidation, which is their standard M.O.,” Rhodes stated. “Oath Keepers will be there to help protect people from unlawful violence as consistently perpetrated by Antifa.”
There was no sign of antifa outside the courthouse.
And there was no sign of Rhodes, either.
Hatewatch observed only one Oath Keeper member wearing the group’s apparel, although other members may have been present in civilian clothing.
Wells also claimed that members of the motorcycle club Bikers for Trump would be in attendance.
Chris Cox, national director of Bikers for Trump, did show up with his German shepherd on a short leash. Cox stood next the courthouse entrance for about an hour before wandering out into the street.
The most interesting prop that appeared during the hours-long vigil outside the courthouse was a 15-foot inflatable rat with yellow hair holding a cell phone. The Trump caricature was inflated on the back of a small pickup truck that had maddogpac.com decal on its side.
Oath Keepers will have another chance to make a show of force, since Flynn’s sentencing was delayed until after March 13. In the meantime, the antigovernment group has also encouraged its members to marshal at the southern U.S. border to thwart a perceived “invasion” of migrants fleeing for safety. Rhodes sees migrants as a national security threat and part of a plot by the political left and the fictitious so-called Deep State to change demographics in its favor.
“Our concern is that the Deep State is going to run the clock out on Trump, and nothing will change on the border,” Rhodes said. “And we know that’s the endgame for the Democratic Party, it’s what they want, which is to bring in more voters that they think will vote Democrat. That’s the whole point. And so we have to stop that. It’s an existential threat to the survival of our nation.”
Internal planning documents obtained by the Military Times revealed that the U.S. military warned its troops deploying to the border about the dangers these right-wing vigilante groups pose. The documents cautioned homegrown militias might incite violence or steal military equipment.