Many of the same players who were involved in the effort to overturn the 2020 election in the United States are celebrating the Canadian truckers convoy that has crippled Ottawa, while calling for a duplicate effort targeting Washington, DC.
At the top of the list is Donald Trump himself, who issued a statement on Feb. 4 deriding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a “far-left lunatic… who has destroyed Canada with insane Covid mandates.” Trump added: “Now, thankfully, the Freedom Convoy could be coming to DC with American Truckers who want to protest Biden’s ridiculous Covid policies.”
The People’s Convoy, with a Facebook group boasting 48,100 members and Telegram channel with 38,000 members, had previously publicized March 1 as a start date, but by the past weekend organizers were signaling that the date was up in the air again. In a video shared on the group’s telegram channel, organizer Jeremy Johnson reported that leaders would hold a Zoom meeting on Feb. 5 “with a very large group of people,” while predicting, “After that Zoom meeting on we’re going to be able to come out with a hell of a lot more information than what we’ve been able to do so far.” In the same video, Johnson said his group had joined forces with Leigh Dundas, a social media influencer anti-vax advocate from southern California who helped mobilize Trump supporters to come to Washington, DC on Jan. 5, 2021.
In a Facebook Live video on Feb. 4, Dundas briefly touched on the DC convoy, saying, “US convoy coming soon. Sit tight, guys. I don’t want to rush to judgement on this one. I’m working with a lot of different trucking factions over the next 48 hours here. I think we’re going to have big announcements starting at the end of the week or next week.”
Dundas could not be reached for comment by Facebook or email for this story.
Dundas has previously said she participated in a conference call with Trump’s campaign lawyers on the day after media organizations declared Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 election. In a video livestreamed that day, she hit on several talking points of the campaign, including arguments that the fight was not about Trump, but “about the very bedrock of our constitutional republic.” On Dec. 29, Dundas said in a video that was viewed 33,000 times that Trump’s followers “need to show up in force in Washington, DC on January 6th,” and that “when those votes are counted by [Vice President Mike] Pence and his friends on January 6th, we need to be there in person to ensure there is integrity in that process, and also to send one hell of a message as to what will happen, if there’s not.”
Since the attempted insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, Dundas has held a slot in the Reawaken America Tour, a far-right extravaganza headlined by retired Lt. General Mike Flynn that showcases various proponents of the Big Lie, anti-vaxxers and Christian nationalists.
Dundas has been pushing for truckers to use their vehicles as force for economic disruption since at least last November. That month, Dundas organized a four-day event billed as a “Nationwide Walkout,” which she also described as a “strike.” In a Nov. 9 interview with Scott McKay, also a speaker in the Reawaken America Tour, Dundas asked truck drivers to email her directly “to get more involved.” A graphic posted on her Facebook page two days later solicited drivers to “help us stand against the vaccine mandates by driving your rig to the Golden Gate Bridge” in San Francisco. It's unclear whether any truckers obliged Dundas’ request.
During the Nov. 9 interview, Dundas leveled a baseless accusation that the Biden administration is killing people through with its policies surrounding the Covid vaccine, which has been proven to be safe and effective.
“What Biden has done is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, you name it,” Dundas told McKay. “If there’s a prefix like U-N in front of it, he’s doing it. And he’s saying you have got to get what’s essentially a kill shot.”
McKay rejoined with a similarly incendiary statement accusing hospitals of “murder,” without providing specific detail.
“This is no longer playtime,” said McKay, a podcaster and former bodybuilder who goes by the moniker “the Patriot Streetfighter.” “These people are playing for keeps. They’re going for broke. They’re looking to bring this country down, bury, literally bury us, and they’re doing it. Because now we got a murder machine inside the hospitals where they’re killing people left and right.
“I don’t know what else will make people step forward and tell us, ‘I am done with this bullshit,’” McKay continued. “It is time to bring the force of We The People against these bastards, and bring ’em to their knees.”
During a previous podcast, McKay enlisted his listeners to harass members of the Ankeny Community School Board in Iowa over their support of masking, urging them to “carpet bomb these boneheads with emails” and “beat the shit out of them,” according to a report by the Daily Beast.
While organizers iron out the details for the American version, proponents of the lie that Trump won the 2020 election are publicly cheering the siege on Ottawa.
Flynn, who urged Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act and deploy the military to “rerun” the election before he left office in disgrace, posted a video of a testimonial from a Canadian truck driver to his 308,600 subscribers on Telegram on Feb. 1.
“We are up against pure evil in this fight to save our freedoms and our children,” Flynn wrote in his post to promote the video. “God bless these truckers and all others fighting to save us from these tyrannical bastards who hide behind their little lives and walls.”
Ivan Raiklin, an Army Reserve officer and Flynn associate who pushed the legal theory that Pence had the power to set aside electoral votes for Biden, used his Telegram account on Sunday to call for the arrest of Prime Minister Trudeau.
“1. Lift all CCP-19 mandates,” he wrote. “2. Arrest every official: national, provincial, local that implemented or enforced those mandates. 3. Try Justin for treason after his apology and after he begs for mercy.”
US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who reportedly met with Trump in December 2020 to discuss options for overturning the election, joined former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon on his “War Room Pandemic” podcast on Monday to celebrate the Ottawa blockade.
“I wish we had people standing like that in our country,” she said. “Those truckers are doing exactly what people should be doing in every single country across the world where they’re forcing these tyrannical Covid mandates where they have enforced shutdowns.”
Jack Posobiec, the right-wing disinformation specialist who promoted the Pizzagate conspiracy and tweeted out the #StopTheSteal hashtag almost two months in advance of the 2020 election, has been commenting prolifically on events in Canada to his 171,358 subscribers on Telegram.
On Sunday, Posobiec posted a photograph of an Ottawa resident holding a sign reading, “I love vaccines, truckers go home,” while mocking it with the text: “You heard her, lads, Truckers Go Home and don’t come back!”
A response from a user named “Sinjin” was typical among the 250-plus comments: “Let that libtard Socialist starve to death. Please.”
Another user, “Jody,” raised the stakes to antisemitic murder: “I’m thinking we go into one big room and shoot Soros, Rockefellers, Rothschilds and the rest of them to death. Then we can go back to normal.”
In another post on Sunday, Posobiec compared Trudeau to the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
“Trudeau is about to crack down on the peaceful protesters like a Castro,” he wrote.
One user, “john b.,” responded: “Sounds like Canada could use a sharpshooter.”
“Tom Papp” echoed the sentiment, writing, “Lock and load!!!”