Dangerous new right-wing conspiracy theories emerge from Wednesday's Trump-fueled mob violence in DC

The storming of the US Capitol by fanatics in thrall to Donald Trump was the inevitable result of un-checked conspiracy theories. And Trump's enablers and sycophants are wasting no time spinning new conspiracy theories out of the attempted coup.

Jake Angeli, a well-known QAnon evangelist from Arizona, has become Exhibit A in the revisionist effort to frame the mob that overran the Capitol building as an "antifa" false flag. With his buffalo horn helmet and fur bonnet, face paint and bare chest, Angeli created an instantly meme-worthy impression huddling in the hall of Congress and striking a pose behind the dais on the Congressional floor in the Senate chamber.


Lin Wood, the Atlanta personal injury lawyer who has been pumping up Trump's efforts to overturn the election, tweeted at 4:44 p.m.: "Indisputable photographic evidence that antifa violently broke into Congress today to inflict harm & do damage. NOT @realDonaldTrump supporters." The tweet included an image file with two side-by-side photos, one showing Angeli aka Buffalo Dude conferring in the halls of Congress with a long-haired, bearded man, and the other showing a similar looking long-haired, bearded man posing with yet another man, accompanied by the inscription "" Despite the similarities in appearance, the two men are not the same.

The second image appears to have been lifted from a September 2018 dox published by Philly Antifa of Maryland Skinheads co-founder Jason Tankersley. The man posing with Tankersley is Matthew Heimbach, the leader of the now-defunct white supremacist group Traditionalist Worker Party. The "antifa" inscription under the photo, which it should be emphasized has no connection at all to today's chaos at the Capitol, is not an indicator that the two men are members of antifa but rather that they are targets of harassment by antifa.

While Trump allies are falsely depicting Angeli as an antifa provocateur, Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio, who is banned from DC as a condition of release for his misdemeanor property destruction and weapons charges, celebrated him as a "hero" on his Parler account. In a post showing a grainy photo of Angeli standing behind the dais, Tarrio even bestowed his organization's honorary salute: "Proud of Your Boy!"

Joe Biggs, another Proud Boy who holds a high profile in the organization, sent a different signal on his Parler page. Along with Woods, Biggs re-shared a tweet by Paul Sperry, an Islamophobe and conspiracy trafficker. Without substantiation or sourcing, Sperry tweeted at 5:02 p.m.: "BREAKING: FBI agent on the ground at US Capitol just texted me and confirmed that at least 1 'bus load' of Antifa thugs infiltrated peaceful Trump demonstrators as part of a false Trump flag ops."

Rep. Paul Gosar, the congressman whose objection to counting the electoral ballots from Arizona early this afternoon abetted the rioters' fantasy about overturning the election, tweeted at 5:04 p.m.: "This has all the hallmarks of Antifa provocation." Gosar's tweet linked to a tweet by Stop the Steal organizer Mike Coudrey.

Coudrey's tweet, which has since been removed, showed footage of Trump supporters busting out a window and entering the Capitol building, with the text, "Eye witness reports that the first individuals who stormed the Capitol where [sic] 'dressed up and had knee pads.'"

Gosar's tweet, in turn received an approving share from Tommy Robinson, an English far-right campaigner who maintains friendly relations with the Proud Boys and is an avid Trump supporter.

"Paul knows!!!" Robinson enthused.

While much of the Trumpworld discourse around the Capitol riot resembles a snake eating its tail, other far-right figures are doubling down on insurrection.

Jeremy Bertino, a prominent North Carolina Proud Boy who was hospitalized after getting stabbed on Dec. 12, has frequently appeared at Tarrio's side over the past year, from the Second Amendment rally in Richmond, Va. in January to the Proud Boys' Fourth of July foray later that year in DC. In contrast to Biggs' deflections onto "antifa" and Tarrio's somewhat whimsical celebration of Angeli, Bertino has maintained a consistently defiant tone in his Parler posts over the course of the afternoon and evening. "The House is meeting again," he fumed at about 7 p.m. "We failed. NEVER FUCKING BACK DOWN."

After Trump released a video asking his supporters to "go home," Bertino wrote on Parler: "DO NOT GO HOME. WE ARE ON THE CUSP OF SAVING THE CONSTITUTION. STAY ON THE GROUNDS, PATRIOTS."

Earlier, Bertino had double-posted a graphic video of a woman bleeding in the hallway of the Capitol after being shot. The woman, who has been identified as Ashli Babbit, has died, according to news reports.

"Those cowards shot an unarmed woman," Bertino wrote on Parler. "He added, "1776," a code in the militia movement for violent insurrection against supposed government tyranny. In another post, he wrote, "Woman shot by cowards protecting traitors. Hang them on the Capitol steps."

Commenters in the thread bristled with calls for retribution: "Time to shoot back!" "And so the war begins." And, "Shoot back. Guns are for us to protect ourselves against government."

Babbit is emerging as a martyr for the far right.

"We lost our first patriot today," one person commented on Bertino's page. "Cement that in our memories."

"2nd shot heard around the world," another responded.

Some of the commenters even turned on the president, signaling that their anti-democratic revolt goes beyond Trump.

"And we've got President Trump coming out saying how good the Capitol police are that would shoot an unarmed woman f*** him *f*** [Pence] and f*** the House and Congress," one man said.

A woman in the thread mused, "The president and his whole family are starting to look like controlled opposition at this point. All calling for no violence and to stand by Capitol police as those same Capitol police attack and have now shot Trump supporters."

Trump's inflammatory speech at the Ellipse and encouragement for his followers to march on the Capitol as Congress met to certify the electoral vote has inflicted substantial damage on the Republican Party, which with the election of two Democratic senators from Georgia has also lost control of the Senate. While the president has disgraced himself, his supporters' rampage through the Capitol has likely electrified the far right.

In one potential sign of things to come, Brien James, a former white supremacist skinhead who co-founded American Guard and organizes with Proud Boys in Indiana, posted a celebratory video on the social media app Telegram.

The short video shared at 2:49 p.m. scanned a barroom in the Midwest, showing dozens of men dressed in the Proud Boys' trademark black and yellow colors. They cheered at a newscast on a mounted television.

"My guys watching patriots storm the capitol," James wrote. "We are loading up and headed out."

'We're gonna kill Congress': Trump's far-right supporters promise violence at today's DC protests

With Congress convening for a joint session today to certify the electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden, Washington DC is bracing for violence from Proud Boys and other far-right supporters who are feeling legitimized by Donald Trump's refusal to accept the results of the election.

Trump's Dec. 19 tweet promising a "big protest in DC on January 6th" and calling on supporters to "be there, will be wild" galvanized supporters to mobilize for the day, and for the past 24 hours the president has been using Twitter to talk up his appearance at the rally.

"Washington is being inundated with people who don't want to see an election victory stolen by emboldened Radical Left Democrats," Trump wrote on Twitter, repeating the falsehood that Biden's electoral victory was achieved through fraud. "Our Country has had enough, they won't take it anymore! We hear you (and love you) from the Oval Office. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

Roughly a dozen senators, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), are entertaining the delusions of Trump's diehard supporters by pledging to protest the certification of Biden's election, while intrigue has swirled around the question of whether Vice President Mike Pence, as presiding officer, will certify the electoral votes, although constitutional experts widely agree that he doesn't have the authority to overturn the result and his role is largely a ceremonial one.

Chatter among Trump supporters planning to attend today's rally on Parler and other social media platforms has bristled with violence and threats to utilize firearms, in defiance of DC's strict gun laws.

Some Republican officials have stoked the violence, encouraging the temptation among Trump's supporters to abandon democratic processes and resort to an armed uprising to prevent the peaceful succession of power.

Responding to a federal judge's New Year's Day dismissal of a lawsuit aimed at pressuring Pence to overturn the results of the election, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said in an interview with the conservative network Newsmax: "If bottom line is the court is saying, 'We're not going to touch this, you have no remedy,' basically in effect the ruling would be that you gotta go to the streets and be as violent as antifa and BLM."

The message hasn't been lost on Trump's far-right supporters.

A New York State Proud Boy posting on Parler under the screenname "NineLine" responded ecstatically on Monday, writing, "@RepLouieGohmert says that #Patriots need to be as violent as BLM/Antifa! That's our go-ahead!!" On Tuesday, he announced, "Arrived in DC safe and sound!"

High-profile supporters like Lin Wood, an Atlanta personal injury lawyer who has rallied Trump supporters and promoted bizarre claims about foreign manipulation of the election, have become increasingly militant, making wild accusations against any Republicans perceived to be displaying the slightest disloyalty to Trump.

Wood's tweet on New Year's Day predicting Pence will wind up in "in jail awaiting trial for treason" and "face execution by firing squad" was extreme even for many staunch Trump allies, drawing public rebuke from former White House strategist Sebastian Gorka and from Jenna Ellis, an attorney for the Trump campaign.

But predictably, Woods' fantasy about a violent political purge has shaped a narrative among far-right actors watching to see whether the vice president plays the heroic rescuer or despised traitor for their cause.

During a trans-Atlantic video chat on Sunday bringing together English far-right campaigner Tommy Robinson with American Proud Boys Jeremy Bertino and Bill Whicker III, a man identified as "Ralph (The Patriot) Pina" described Pence as the crucial figure in the American election drama.

"It's going to go down one of two ways," Pina told Robinson. "Either Pence is going to show himself to be a patriot, and he recognizes the truth of everything going on, right? And he lays it all out in the House and in the Congress on the 6th. However, should Pence prove himself not to be the patriot he needs to be, he's just now opened the gate for Trump to call up the Insurrection Act and fix it from there. Either way it goes, there's gonna be civil unrest in this country."

Like Wood and others in the Trump cult, Pina expressed faith in a rapture-like revelation of evil and corruption that will set the stage for a violent settling of accounts.

"There's not going to be a President Joe Biden," Pina insisted. "It's just not gonna happen…. There's just way, way too much stuff they're sitting on, they're holding on to. They haven't released a fraction of what is sitting there.

"What I'm hoping for is Trump wins," Pina continued as the other chat participants let out a peel of laughter, "the leftists lose their minds, and it gave me a reason to finally go out there and test some of the new firepower I've acquired in the past couple years."

Bertino, who was hospitalized due to a stabbing the last time the Proud Boys rallied in DC on Dec. 12, murmured, "In Minecraft," a common refrain among far-right extremists used to gloss over violent threats with a veneer of plausible deniability.

Discussion about guns and armed confrontation surrounding planning on Parler for today's rally in DC is not rare. Discussion on the conservative social media platform also shows that Proud Boys and their far-right allies have turned decisively against law enforcement, growing out of their frustration that DC police prevented repeated attempts to march into Black Lives Matter Plaza and start fights with antifascists on Dec. 12.

"If you're going to DC expecting it to be peaceful, I wouldn't bet on it lol," wrote one Parler user on New Year's Eve. "I think for anyone who has the balls to do so, you might want to bring some stuff. Things are already fired up now, just wait until more police thugs arrest non-mask wearers over the next few days. Let alone the antifa/BLM retards."

Another user responded, "I'm going to tell people to prevent the cops from arresting anybody on our side. I'm going to be there." The second user added, "It's time for some blue blood."

That user, whose account has since been taken down, is among Trump supporters who have discussed storming Congress to prevent members from certifying Biden as the president.

"We're gonna kill Congress," he wrote. "Sorry to burst your bubble btw not a PB [Proud Boy] but I'm good enough with words I'll get people to go in there anyways." In another post, the man who described himself in his Parler profile as a "homeschooled masculine, intellectual militia member" who believes he has a right to own a tank, tagged Bertino in a post in which he advised bringing rifles to shoot at police helicopters and blocking streets with vehicle to create an urban battlefield.

While DC will be the center of attention, Trump supporters are also urging rallies in state capitols, among them a "Wild Protest West Coast" scheduled for noon in front of Los Angeles City Hall and a "SC MAGA Rally" scheduled for 10 a.m. in Columbia.

The discussion about bringing weapons and ammunition into the city has, to some degree, materialized in real life.

DC police arrested Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio in the city on Monday, charging him with misdemeanor destruction of property after he admitted to burning a Black Lives Matter banner stolen from a Black church on Dec. 12. During the arrest, police discovered high-capacity firearms magazines in Tarrio's possession.

And on Tuesday afternon, the Washington Post reported, DC police pulled over a North Carolina bus for a traffic violation, and discovered a person carrying two firearms — a rifle and a semiautomatic handgun — along with a drum magazine."

Proud Boys rallies result in violence against people of color -- but their driving ideology is hatred against women

Standing in a sea of Proud Boys at the Washington Monument on the evening of Dec. 11, Chairman Enrique Tarrio addressed them through a bullhorn: "To the parasites, both in Congress and in that stolen White House: You want war? You've got war!"

The crowd erupted into a throaty chant of "Fuck antifa." After Tarrio promised to "bring the pain," a woman cried out, "I got the bear mace!" A man growled, "Let's bust some commies' heads open."

It was not the only time the Proud Boys and their right-wing allies used the word "war" over the course of the weekend, as Proud Boys roamed the streets, fueled by alcohol, punching, kicking and deploying chemical spray against left-wing opponents and local residents alike.

Addressing Proud Boys from the portico of the JW Marriott hotel on the same night, Owen Shroyer, a right-wing media entertainer with InfoWars, said he was issuing a "final warning to the Deep State" if the election was not certified for Donald Trump and he was not re-inaugurated on Jan. 20.

Despite the fact that the weekend was anything but, Shroyer warned: "We will only be peaceful one more time."

Predictably, one of the street gladiators shouted from the crowd: "You want a war? You've got one!"

Since the Nov. 3 election, the Proud Boys have markedly escalated their rhetoric and violence, while emerging as the thuggish street-fighting wing of a conspiracy-fueled coalition of Trump loyalists, COVID deniers, Christian fundamentalists and virulent anticommunists. With Trump's winking endorsement when he said, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by," the group has emerged as a hub for other violent right-wing actors seeking a permissive environment to commit assaults.

Proud Boys vandalized four African-American churches in DC on Dec. 12 by stealing and in one case burning a Black Lives Matter flag, prompting one pastor to liken the offense to "cross burnings." The group's leaders have remained unrepentant. In spite of the group's desecration of the Black church as a historical institution of resistance, anti-feminism and transphobia are more central than white supremacy to the Proud Boys' quest to make the United States a right-wing authoritarian regime through maintaining and widening certain inequalities.

Less than a week after the Dec. 12 rally, Tarrio joined four other prominent Proud Boys on a video chat. Tarrio, who is a Miami resident of Afro-Cuban descent, fumed at the news that the church attacks were being investigated as a hate crime by the Washington DC Metro police and that the incidents had received public notice from the FBI. Then he publicly took responsibility for holding a lighter to the Black Lives Matter banner stolen from Asbury United Methodist Church and setting it on fire.

"And I am damn proud that I did," he said. "So, if this puts me under some type of investigation, or somebody's gonna knock on my door, then bring it. Because I did nothing wrong."

Tarrio argued that the vandalism couldn't be a hate crime because it wasn't racially motivated.

"The truth is here that nobody went up to that sign thinking it was a racial thing," he said, while falsely asserting that Black Lives Matter as a whole is "a Marxist movement, a terrorist movement."

Members also deflected any notion that the vandalism was religiously motivated, with Joe Biggs observing, "We're all Christians." It's undoubtedly true: After a man fervently prayed for God's protection over InfoWars founder Alex Jones at the Marriott on Dec. 12, chants erupted of, "Christ is king."

While the Proud Boys base their antagonism towards Black Lives Matter on conspiratorial view that it's a front for communism, reminiscent of the Cold War-era attacks on the Civil Rights Movement, the lingua franca of a movement that welcomes men or color and even gays into its ranks is misogyny.

"The role of white supremacism and racism can be variable," Alex DiBranco, the executive director of the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism, told Raw Story. "In the coalitions that are formed, I refer to misogyny as the glue that holds these groups together when they have white men and men of color. That doesn't mean white supremacy or xenophobia isn't a big part of the motivation for white men.

"Sometimes, the movement practices tokenism; there will be people of color who they trot out in front of the camera," DiBranco continued. "I don't think it applies for the Proud Boys; their role in the leadership is too integral. The glue of misogyny is holding together the coalition. If they were successful in reasserting the dominance of cisgender men, then for the white men in the movement, the next step would be to reassert the dominance of cisgender white men."

The racial and ethnic diversity in the Proud Boys mirrors that of the Trump coalition, which includes Latinx and Asian people rooted in anticommunist and Christian conservative movements, along with Black conservatives.

Eric Ward, the executive director of the Western States Center in Portland, Ore., said the Proud Boys' racial and ethnic diversity prevents the American public from properly recognizing it as the vanguard of an authoritarian movement.

"It is a clever movement that understands the importance of visual diversity," he said. "It is more committed to its authoritarian values than its flirtation with white nationalist values. At the end of the day, the Proud Boys stand as the surviving hub of the alt-right movement."

The tension between diversity and white nationalism has recently played out in a power struggle when Kyle Chapman, also known as "Based Stickman," attempted to wrest control of the Proud Boys leadership from Tarrio. Chapman, who set up the Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knight as the "tactical defense arm" of the Proud Boys in 2017, announced on the social media app Telegram in November that he would assume leadership of the Proud Boys. Chapman said the Proud Boys would no longer appoint Black people as its leaders or accept homosexuals within its ranks. He said, "We recognize that the West was built by the white race alone, and we owe nothing to any other race." Chapman's attempted power grab appears to have failed, at least for the time being.

Regardless of the diverse face of the organization, the Proud Boys' reputation as right-wing fight club and its singular position within the hardcore Trump coalition makes it an anchor for an array of far-right actors, from mainstream MAGA followers to neo-Confederates.

On Dec. 12, about 250 Proud Boys marched from Harry's Bar, a favored gathering spot, to Black Lives Matter Plaza to try to confront antifascists. Proud Boys heckled police holding a line to prevent them from getting to the antifascists, calling them "oath breakers" for not allowing them to attack their adversaries. But the irregulars who had joined the march were some of the most vociferous. "I want blood!" a man wearing a Make America Great Again hat and carrying an American flag yelled at the police. "We'll clean up antifa for you."

The march also drew a group of self-described "monument protectors" who regularly counter-protest against Black Lives Matter in Alamance County, in North Carolina. Thomas May, one of the men, was conspicuous for being one of the only people at the rally in DC who was carrying a Confederate flag. Earlier this fall, May shouted "white power" from the bed of a pickup during a Trump parade through Elon, NC that was inspired by earlier Trump convoys in Portland, Ore. Later that evening, May yelled the N-word at a Black antiracist activist in the neighboring city of Graham. Reached on his Facebook account, May declined to comment to Raw Story.

The Proud Boys' record of policing their movement against infiltration by neo-Nazis is mixed.

When a Telegram user posted images with explicit national socialist and anti-Semitic themes on a Philadelphia Proud Boys thread celebrating their violence against antifascists in DC, Richard Schwetz recorded a message calling him out. "I want to fight you, one on one, man to man," Schwetz said. "I want to show you what happens to your little fake-ass white supremacist fucking Nazi-loving hating pieces of shit. I'll show you what the Proud Boys do to those type of people. We're not down with you. We don't like you. Philadelphia Proud Boys denounce you 150 fucking percent."

But across the country at a similar rally attended by Proud Boys in Olympia, Wash., where a far-right activist discharged a firearm, on the same day, a man with a long history of showing up at far right events can be heard in a video yelling an anti-Semitic slur at antifascists.

"At the end of the day, the fact that the Proud Boys seem unwilling to draw a clear moral barrier against that bigotry it their midst signals we will continue to find white nationalists in those spaces," Ward said. "It could serve to radicalize those white nationalists to engage in violence."

Whether Proud Boys give tacit approval to white supremacists or not, their provocations against Black Lives Matter can result in police violence against people of color because of unconscious bias.

Late on the night of Dec. 12, a group of Proud Boys happened upon Stephon Shields, a local resident who is Black, near the Downtown Holiday Market in DC as he was riding by on a scooter. Mistaking him for an antifascist counter-protester, they said, "Hey fellas, we got one! You feeling froggy?"

Outnumbered 12 to one, Shields picked up a chair to defend himself. During the melee, Jon Miles, the chief security officer at the holiday market, who is also Black, came forward to assist the police and a Proud Boy stepped from behind him and sprayed mace in his face. Although an officer had witnessed the conflict unfold from across the street, the police treated Shields as the instigator and pinned him against a storefront window, while allowing the Proud Boys to leave. Shields was eventually released without charges.

"What we are seeing as a national phenomenon is the intersection between white supremacy and white nationalism, and the systemic racial bias in our institutions play out in how police engage in crowd control tactics and de-escalation," Ward said. "It's hard for me to say this, but law enforcement is increasingly part of the problem at these rallies. What I mean by that is, law enforcement, because it is struggling around the unconscious bias that exists in its structure, plays that out in the streets to significant harm to the cities they serve. Because of that unconscious bias, law enforcement sees people of color who are on the street going to and from work — or counter-protesters — as more dangerous than armed and unarmed paramilitary formations, even though individuals in these formations have targeted and killed law enforcement — like the boogaloo boys. That is the power of unconscious bias. What we see is that people who are perceived to be counter-protesters are over-policed, and these people who are in paramilitaries are under-policed."

The perception that law enforcement is taking sides, already entrenched in Black, brown and indigenous communities "is a recipe for disaster for democracy," Ward said.

The post-election period has marked a shift in the Proud Boys' stance on violence. Prior to the election, Proud Boys typically said they only resorted to violence as a defensive measure, but in the past two months they've largely dropped any pretense that they're not actively seeking confrontation. On Dec. 12, large groups of Proud Boys made repeated forays from Harry's Bar to Black Lives Matter Plaza, hoping to fight antifascists. When police turned them away, they returned to Harry's Bar. Proud Boy Jeremy Bertino posted an invitation on his Parler account daring their left-wing adversaries to "come get some" at Harry's. (Less than an hour later, Bertino was stabbed by a DC resident named Phillip Johnson, who pulled a knife to defend himself after being surrounded by Proud Boys, and shoved and punched. Three other Proud Boys were also stabbed. One of them, Corey Nielsen, faces a simple assault charge for his part in the altercation.)

The Proud Boys' increasing proclivity towards violence is matched by a rising militancy among Trump's high-profile supporters, as the president's legal and political options for remaining in office dwindle. Lin Wood, the Atlanta attorney known for representing Richard Jewell — the security guard accused in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in 1996 — advised his followers on Twitter on Dec. 14: "Make sure you have plenty of water, food, flashlights & batteries, candles, radio, 2nd Amendment supplies, & a plan to meet with leaders of your communities." He added, "Remember, we only have 1 president at a time. Our leader is Donald Trump, not Biden."

Biggs, the Proud Boy on the recent video conference with Tarrio, made a similar pronouncement before the first major Proud Boys gathering in DC, which took place on Nov. 14. Predicting a second civil war on his blog, he advised followers: "Buy ammo, clean your guns, get storable food and water. Be prepared! Things are about to get bad before they get better."

Ward said he expects to see continued violence as the Jan. 20 inauguration approaches.

"My sense is it will primarily still revolve around rallies, particularly while the election is being contested," he said. "Quite frankly, the anti-mask and anti-vaccer components of the authoritarian right will bloom and thrive during this moment. We are starting to see an increase in stories about groups engaging in more coordinated planning."

During the Dec. 12 rally, Robert Piccirillo, a Proud Boy based in West Palm Beach, Fla., exulted, "Everybody is so fucking hyped, they are ready for fucking murder, and they're going to get 'em. We're going to get some murders right now — fuck yeah!"

The Proud Boys apparently do not see publicity about their advocacy for violence as a liability.

Bertino, who wears a patch with the letters "RWDS" — an acronym for "right-wing death squad" — told left-wing adversaries in Raleigh, NC in late November: "We will exterminate you." Far from being chastened after the threat was publicized, Bertino signaled his approval by re-sharing a video of his outburst from an antifascist Twitter account on his Parler account.

Journalists, with the exception of pro-Trump outlets like Epoch Times, One America News and NewsMax, are not exempt from threats of violence.

"Make sure you guys get those crooked fake news activists as well," one Parler user posted on thread on Bertino's page. "They deserve a good beating. Then they'll be imprisoned."

"#Journalists are #traitors to the #republic and #partoftherebelalliance — #hangthemall," wrote another.

In the same thread, another user wrote: "Pepper spray? Fuck that shit. It's time to start killing and not stop until they are all gone! Even when they start to run. Bullets always run faster!"

Ward recalled when Trump supporters drove pickup trucks into downtown Portland and shot people with paintball guns who were perceived to be Black Lives Matter protesters or "antifa."

"I think there's a danger in seeing it as we're going to own the libs," Ward said. "We could see it another way: We're in a dry run. They were conditioning folks to point guns and pull the triggers. I find that akin to a paramilitary training in the streets of Portland."

While Proud Boys invective against Black Lives Matter, "antifa," the incoming Biden administration and journalists has become ever more hysterical, their public-facing media gaslights public concern by sporadically signaling racial and religious inclusion.

Piccirillo, an entrepreneur who sells T-shirts and promotes the Proud Boys through a podcast, recently published a light-hearted video in which he attempted to recruit a Montreal man who was raised in the Muslim faith to the organization. The man, identified only as "Zu," expressed enthusiasm for Alex Jones as an alternative to "the media perspective," and for Trump, admiring him for "bringing some spiciness to the process."

After attempting to recruit "Zu," Piccirillo acknowledged that Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes "has some crazy opinions about Muslims." Zu, who said he is no longer a practicing Muslim, professed to not be bothered by McInnes' views.

In a past interview, McInnes has readily owned up to being Islamophobe. At various times, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, McInness has called Islam "rape culture." He has said that "Muslims have a problem with inbreeding," and that "a disproportionate number of Muslims are… mentally damaged inbreds." And he has called the Koran "a hate book" that promotes "mass murder."

The Proud Boys' hatred towards women was on full display during the Dec. 12 rally in DC.

Ford Fischer, a videographer who frequently films tense street confrontations, captured an argument between Proud Boys and a woman who was a fellow Trump supporter. The woman was defending the police after the Proud Boys disparaged them for not allowing them to attack antifascists.

"Emotional women should not be in the movement," a man dressed in a Santa hat said.

"Misogyny is based," another man said through a bullhorn, meaning that hatred of women is righteous. "Get on board or leave."

When the woman tried to make her case in support of the police, the man with the bullhorn baited her by introducing a different subject: "Legal immigration — how do you feel?" Then he lectured her that if people are allowed to legally immigrate to the United States, "they will subject you to being a minority."

As the argument escalated, the man said, "It is women like you who have ruined this country." And as police escorted the woman and her friends away, the man said, "Goodbye, feminists. No room in the right for feminists."

DiBranco, the executive director of the Institute for Research on Male Supremacist, said it's not surprising that a group like the Proud Boys that emphasizes anti-feminist over white nationalist ideology would be at the forefront of Trump's efforts to overturn the election.

"Trump has been sympathetic to the white supremacist movement," she said, "but misogyny is really the core of his brand.

"He comes from this much more virulent culture of objectifying women, with a history of sexual harassment and sexual assault," DiBranco added.

One way misogyny manifests among Proud Boys is as a weapon against left-wing opponents. During a campaign of harassment against North Carolina antifascist Lindsay Ayling, Bertino trolled her in a Parler post with the hashtag #antifawhore, and then followed suit after his recent hospitalization by distributing an image of her online that was Photoshopped to make it appear that she was performing fellatio. And around the time of Thanksgiving, North Carolina Proud Boys filmed themselves hanging a banner reading "Kamala 'Heels Up' Harris." The phrase "Heels Up Harris" emerged soon after Harris was announced as Biden's running mate as part of a false and malicious smear insinuating that she slept her way to the top because the future California attorney general and US senator briefly dated then-California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown in the mid-1990s.

While overtly racist formations like the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s and the white power movement in the 1980s encouraged women's auxiliaries, the Proud Boys as an anti-feminist group is doing the opposite.

"Part of the process of viewing women and feminism as enemies is related to their recruitment of men of color, and decreasing the involvement of women," DiBranco said.

As if on cue, the Proud Boys official Telegram account circulated a tile on Dec. 18 that addressed women, telling them there is no place in the organization for them, either as "Proud Boys' Girls" or "Proud Girls."

"Want to support us?" the edict read. "Get married, have babies, and take care of your family."

Jason Blazakis, a former counterterrorism official in the Obama administration who now directs the Center on Terrorism, Extremism and Counterterrorism in Monterey, Calif., said the Proud Boys' "escalating rhetoric is of great concern," especially when considered in the context of Trump's refusal to accept the results of the election.

"Tarrio is trying to maintain his leadership role in the group," Blazakis told Raw Story. "He is being challenged by the more overt white supremacist wing. When a leader is threatened like that, they could react any number of ways. One of which, of course, is by pushing the group to more violent methods. Tarrio, himself seems to be flaunting laws — as exemplified by his destruction of property at a Black church.

"We should expect more violence from the group," Blazakis concluded. "That said, I doubt they can inspire any widespread acts of violence that are beyond the means of law enforcement to counter."

Standing alongside Tarrio and pardoned Trump advisor Roger Stone at the Marriott portico in DC on Dec. 11, the InfoWars personality Owen Shroyer bellowed, "We will be back in January for the re-inauguration of Donald Trump. And then, if Donald J. Trump is not re-inaugurated, we will take this country back.

"This is the final warning to the Deep State," Shroyer continued. "If they do not comply with we the people, we will take this country back by force."

A 'rise in white supremacy': Black pastor alarmed by Proud Boys night of violence and vandalism in DC

Piggy-backing off the festival of MAGA fervor, COVID denialism and Trump-election fantasy in Washington DC on Saturday, hundreds of Proud Boys and other right-wing thugs roamed through the nation’s capital as afternoon turned to night, spoiling for fights with antifascist adversaries and local residents alike, and vandalizing property.

Keep reading... Show less

'Anybody got a bazooka?' Proud Boys wreak havoc on DC as Mike Flynn and others rally Donald Trump loyalists

Fueled by the words of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, conspiracy-monger Alex Jones and other luminaries of Trump-sphere, thousands of Trump loyalists poured into Washington, DC on Saturday, pledging defiance to an orderly transfer of presidential power and looking for opportunities to clash with antifascists.

Keep reading... Show less

‘We will exterminate you’: Proud Boys and other right-wing Trump diehards confront counter-protesters at Raleigh rally

A band of COVID deniers, neo-Confederates and pro-Trump diehards, augmented by a 50-strong Proud Boy security detail, marched around the Governor’s Mansion in downtown Raleigh on Saturday, firing up a far-right coalition to carry on the fight as their president faces the reality of leaving office.

Keep reading... Show less

IT manager at NC State identified in lawsuit as a Proud Boy who doxed thousands of left-wing activists

Dressed in a burgundy dress shirt, with a full beard and shoulder-length brown hair, and wearing a black felt hat, Chadwick Seagraves cut a striking figure as he stood on the steps of the Chapel Hill Courthouse in North Carolina in June 2017 and gave a hearty introduction to Augustus Sol Invictus. Seagraves’ guest was a failed Florida US Senate candidate who was a rising star of the alt-right in the run-up to the violent Unite the Right rally.

Keep reading... Show less

Donald Trump's Proud Boys aren't just standing by

Donald Trump’s incendiary endorsement of the Proud Boys during the first presidential debate has predictably electrified the far-right street-fighting group, while elevating concerns about the potential for his supporters to disrupt the election as the president seeks to undermine trust in the legitimacy of the process.

Keep reading... Show less

A far-right group with a history of violence plans to join a QAnon-inspired march in North Carolina

Members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group with a reputation for violence and associations with white supremacists, plan to join a QAnon-inspired march against human trafficking on Saturday in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Keep reading... Show less

Chaos erupts in North Carolina town as violent counterprotesters clash with anti-racist activists

Since the murder of George Floyd, a small, but dedicated group of activists has been holding peaceful protests calling for an end to racist policing and for the removal of the Confederate monument that stands in front of the Gaston County Courthouse in Gastonia, a city of 77,273 west of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Keep reading... Show less

Latinx and refugee workers and their families are dying from a COVID outbreak at a Tyson Foods’ NC chicken plant

COVID-19 has carved a path of illness and death through the immigrant and refugee communities scattered across the Appalachian foothills of western North Carolina whose labor keeps Tyson Foods operating and ensures a steady supply of chicken tray packs for grocery-store shelves and processed food for restaurants across the country.

Keep reading... Show less

'They want their civil war': Far-right 'boogaloo' militants are embedded in the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis

Young, white men dressed in Hawaiian-style print shirts and body armor, and carrying high-powered rifles have been a notable feature at state capitols, lending an edgy and even sometimes insurrectionary tone to gatherings of conservatives angered by restrictions on businesses and church gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.

Keep reading... Show less

Husband of Reopen NC leader ‘willing to kill people’ in resistance to emergency orders

The husband of the woman who leads the Reopen NC movement says people should be willing to kill, if necessary, to resist the “New World Order” and emergency orders imposed by state government to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Keep reading... Show less

Homeland Security issues a startling internal alert after lockdown protester gets arrested for building pipe bombs

A Colorado man who planned to attend a “Reopen” rally in Denver on May 1 before he was arrested by the FBI for possessing pipe bombs was involved in the boogaloo movement, a far-right militia offshoot that uses cryptic pop-culture references to prepare for a future civil war.

Keep reading... Show less

Gleeful neo-Nazis see echoes of the 1930s as America plunges into a coronavirus crisis

One post shared on the social-media app Telegram depicts a Nazi stormtrooper flanked by pixelated text declaring, “Kali Yuga ends, black sun rises,” signaling a transition from a “dark age” to a fascist nirvana as symbolized by the “black sun” design elevated during the Third Reich.

Keep reading... Show less

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy Raw Story this year? Join us! We're offering RawStory ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.