WASHINGTON, D.C. — When the far-right blog The Gateway Pundit said a Jan. 6 Capitol rioter rally on Saturday afternoon would be the “biggest to date,” crowds were expected.
But instead of big crowds, the “Truth Rally” attracted around the same number of counter-protesters as rally attendees—a few dozen, at best.
The event on Capitol grounds, organized and attended by a cornucopia of far-right groups with a variety of missions, predominantly attracted right-wing members of what was once “The People’s Convoy,” now better known as the 1776 Restoration Movement.
As upside-down flags waved in the wind overlooking the Capitol building, 1776 Restoration Movement leader David “Santa” Riddell brushed off the violent crimes carried out on that dark winter day by “political prisoners.”
“To treat everybody just because they are part of a day like they were vicious criminals…I know they’re not,” he told The Daily Beast when asked about the Jan. 6 defendant who allegedly attempted to beat a police officer with a metal bat.
Other notable speakers included 2020 election denier David Clements, who has since had a falling out with MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, and D-list podcaster Joe Oltmann.
Likewise, Clements downplayed the violent actions of the Jan. 6 defendants. So far, at least 75 defendants have been charged by the Department of Justice for “using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily injury to an officer.”
“There are people being held on misdemeanor charges, having their due process rights violated,” Clements told The Daily Beast when asked why he attended the rally. “Isn’t that enough?”
But the event didn’t exactly go down as planned.
Counter demonstrators arrived on Capitol grounds at the beginning of the event. They circled the lawn chair-sitting rally-goers throughout the afternoon, yelling and chanting over speakers attempting to say their piece.
“Trump is a loser, a little baby loser,” the demonstrators declared, as many beat on buckets serving the role of drums and yelled into bullhorns.
The counter demonstrators, who also totaled in the dozens, wouldn’t be the only sinister force organizers believed were working against the cause of “freedom.”
A nearby Mexican festival, Fiesta D.C., less than a block away from the “Truth Rally’s” makeshift stage, also appeared to derail the train of thoughts of speakers.
With mixed messages flying as one speaker replaced the next, one thing remained constant: confusion over whether to be proud of the events of Jan. 6th, bill it as a set-up by the feds, or say rioters did nothing wrong.
Some rally goers settled for straight-up denying the events of that day had been violent.
“Not true,” Maria R. from Sugarland, Texas, told The Daily Beast when asked about violence on Jan 6th. “That didn’t happen.”
But before long, after being pressed with examples of violence, she changed her tune, stating: “It was a trap.”
The Daily Beast