January 6 image featuring QAnon Shaman and men in red hats trying to take over Congress

Every chapter of the House Select Committee's January 6 Report features a "Chekhov's gun." From Trump's election night insistence that "Frankly, we did win this election," before his minions had even dreamed up lies about voter fraud to feed to the rubes, to his infamous December 19 tweet summoning the mob, the 845-page tome is loaded with harbingers of inevitable violence. Even if we hadn't all witnessed the sacking of our nation's capital on January 6, 2021, we'd know from reading this document that something terrible was about to happen.

But Chapter 6, "Be There, Will Be Wild," which describes the reaction among rightwing militias to Trump's call, is the most ominous yet:

Within three minutes of President Trump’s tweet, a user on TheDonald.win message board posted: “Trump Tweet. Daddy Says Be In DC on Jan. 6th.” Moderators pinned the post to the top of the board from December 19th until January 6th. It garnered nearly 6,000 comments and more than 24,000 upvotes during that time. Many of the site’s users quickly interpreted President Trump’s tweet as a call for violence. For example, one user wrote, “[Trump] can’t exactly openly tell you to revolt. This is the closest he’ll ever get.” Jody Williams, the site’s then-owner, testified that while users had been talking about traveling to Washington, DC since the election, after the tweet “anything else was kind of shut out, and it just was going to be the 6th.”

They call him "Daddy." Of course they do.

But more importantly, of course they interpreted the tweet as an invitation to violently overthrow the government. And everyone in Trump's orbit knew it, not least because they were watching it happen in real time.

Text messages between Trump Campaign Senior Advisor Jason Miller and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows show that these kinds of posts reached deep into the President’s inner circle. Miller sent Meadows a text on December 30th, declaring, “I got the base FIRED UP.” The thread contained a link to a TheDonald.win comment thread filled with reactions to a post by Miller promoting January 6th.

Trump spent the prior five years openly cultivating extremists. From his interviews with Alex Jones, to his description of the Charlottesville Nazis as "very fine people," to his instruction to the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by," Trump made it clear that those people and their noxious, antidemocratic views were welcome in his party. So at 1:42 a.m. on December 19, after the Oval Office showdown when the White House Counsel told him he wasn't going to be able to seize the voting machines and make Sidney Powell special counsel to investigate non-existent election fraud, when Trump tweeted: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” he knew exactly what he was doing.

Alex Jones immediately swung into action.

The next day, December 20th, Jones devoted much of his InfoWars show to the President’s announcement. Jones told his audience several times that if 10 million Americans came to Washington, DC on January 6th, Congress would have to listen to them. He repeated this idea over the course of the episode, saying things such as, “He’s calling you, he needs your help, we need your help, we need 10 million people there,” “[w]e need martial law and have to prevent the police state of foreigners from taking over.” Jones added: “It’s literally in our hands. It’s literally up to us."

Publix heiress Julie Fancelli listened to the show and pledged $3 million for the cause. She immediately hooked up with Caroline Wren, a Republican fundraiser, who along with the organizers of Women for America First (WFAF) appears to have been the nexus between the fringier elements in Wingnutistan and the White House and who soon took a major role in organizing the events of January 5 and 6. Naturally Kimberly Guilfoyle got $60,000 of Fancelli's money, after it had been laundered through Charlie Kirk's non-profit, to introduce Don Jr. on the Ellipse that day. Leave it to Team Always Be Griftin' to try and make bank off a coup.

Meanwhile, the Oath Keepers were buying up thousands of dollars of worth of guns to stash across the Potomac, anticipating that Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act and deputize them to put down an Antifa "rebellion." The militia's leader Stewart Rhodes, who has since been convicted of seditious conspiracy, went on Infowars in November to describe the "Quick Reaction Force" of men and guns they were assembling in Virginia, and the plan was in full swing even before Trump's tweet.

On December 10, 2020, Rhodes messaged others: “Either Trump gets off his ass and uses the Insurrection Act to defeat the Chicom puppet coup or we will have to rise up in insurrection (rebellion) against the ChiCom puppet Biden. Take your pick.” Rhodes was blunt in other messages to the Oath Keepers, writing: “We need to push Tump [sic] to do his duty. If he doesn’t, we will do ours. Declare Independence. Defy Resist Defend Conquer or Die. This needs to be our attitude.”

("Chicom" stands for Chinese Communist, for those who are not up on the latest 8kun argot.)

Trump's call to arms on December 19 poured gasoline on the fire, and Rhodes's lieutenant Kelly Meggs, who was later convicted of obstruction for his role in the events, got the message loud and clear:

On December 22nd, Meggs echoed President Trump’s tweet in a Facebook message to someone else: Trump said It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! He wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!! Sir Yes Sir!!! Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your shit!!”

The Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys put aside their differences, allying in anticipation of the fight to stop certification of Joe Biden's electoral victory.

“We have decided to work together and shut this shit down," Meggs posted on Facebook.

They also made common cause with the Three Percenters militia, a bunch of anti-government weirdos who labor under the mistaken belief that a tiny fraction of Americans successfully overthrew the British in the Revolutionary war.

For example, Lucas Denney and Donald Hazard led a militia affiliated with the Three Percenter movement called the “Patriot Boys of North Texas.” Both Denney and Hazard were charged with assaulting officers on January 6th.

Fire the writers!

These goons always intended to take the fight to Congress. For instance, when someone messaged the group chat, “I know most of the events will be centered around freedom plaza,” Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio responded, “Negative. They’re centered around the Capitol.”

On January 4, 2021, Tarrio wrote of the plan to “storm the Capitol." Two days later, as the building was under siege, he messaged, “We did this.”

Everyone knew exactly what Trump's tweet meant, even the basement dwelling memelords:

Nick Fuentes is an online provocateur who leads a white nationalist movement known as “America First,” or the “Groypers.” Fuentes immediately responded to President Trump’s “be wild” tweet. On December 19, 2020, “BE THERE, WILL BE WILD!” Fuentes wrote on Twitter: “I will return to Washington DC to rally for President Trump on January 6th!” Fuentes and his Groypers did return to Washington, DC for the joint session. As the attack was underway, Fuentes incited followers from his perch immediately outside of the U.S. Capitol. Some of his followers joined the attack inside, with one even sitting in Vice President Pence’s seat on the Senate dais.

Heckuva coincidence that guy turning up at Trump's dinner table three years later, huh?

Meanwhile on the supposedly legit side, characters like Roger Stone and Ali Alexander, whom Trump personally insisted on giving a speaking slot, were coordinating with the White House to line up speakers and transportation for the pre-riot rallies. The committee does a really good job of illustrating the connection between the supposedly fringe figures who called for violence and Trump's inner circle. There's a reason that Mark Meadows refused to engage with the committee and give up his texts. Similarly, WFAF, which carried the imprimatur of legitimacy, provided critical infrastructure, securing buses and funding while centering radical elements in the program.

And the program was always going to conclude with an attack on the Capitol.

Within a few days, the White House began to take a more direct role in coordinating the rally at the Ellipse. In a December 29th text to Wren, [former Trump staffer Justin] Caporale wrote that after the President’s planned speech there “maybe [sic] a call to action to march to the [C]apitol and make noise.” This is the earliest indication uncovered by the Select Committee that the President planned to call on his supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol. But it wasn’t the last. On January 2nd, rally organizer Katrina Pierson informed Wren that President Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, had said the President was going to “call on everyone to march to the [C]apitol.” [...]

On January 4th, WFAF’s Kylie Kremer informed Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow and an ally of President Trump, that “POTUS is going to have us march there [the Supreme Court]/the Capitol” but emphasized that the plan “stays only between us.”

The “Stop the Steal” coalition was aware of the President’s intent. On January 5th, Ali Alexander sent a text to a journalist saying: “Ellipse then US capitol [sic]. Trump is supposed to order us to the capitol [sic] at the end of his speech but we will see.”

The militias knew it:

On December 20, 2020, one [Proud Boys internal group] leader stated, “I assume most of the protest will be at the capital [sic] building given what’s going on inside.” On December 29, 2020, in a group message to the [Proud Boys internal group], a member wrote, “I know most of the events will be centered around freedom plaza. . . .” Tarrio responded, “Negative. They’re centered around the Capitol.”

The Redittors knew it:

In the days that followed, users on TheDonald.win discussed: surrounding and occupying the U.S. Capitol; cutting off access tunnels used by Members of Congress; the types of weapons they should bring; and even how to build a hangman’s gallows.

Other posts on TheDonald.win included specific plans to build gallows outside the U.S. Capitol. “Gallows are simpler and more cost effective, plus they’re an American old west tradition too,” one user wrote on December 22, 2020. A week later, another wrote: “Let’s construct a Gallows outside the Capitol building next Wednesday so the Congressmen watching from their office windows shit their pants.” Another said that “building a hanging platform in front of Congress on the 6 should send a strong message.” The site hosted a diagram showing how to tie a hangman’s knot, with one site member writing that they should build gallows “so the traitors know the stakes.” On January 5, 2021, hours before the attack began, a user posted an image of gallows and titled it, “Election Fraud Repair Kit.”

And Trump always intended to go with them, preferably flanked by 10,000 armed American soldiers:

During a January 4th meeting with staffers and event organizer Katrina Pierson, President Trump emphasized his desire to march with his supporters.

The President’s advisors tried to talk him out of it. White House Senior Advisor Max Miller “shot it down immediately” because of concerns about the President’s safety. Pierson agreed. But President Trump was persistent, and he floated the idea of having 10,000 National Guardsmen deployed to protect him and his supporters from any supposed threats by leftwing counter-protestors.

Everyone knew that Trump and his supporters were planning to overthrow the government by force. They all saw the gun in the first act, and they did fuck all to make sure it didn't go off. And if we don't hold them responsible, they'll shoot us again.


Episode One: January 6 Report Is Real, And It's Spectacular

Episode Two: January 6 Report: Trump Tried To Crime Boss State Legislators Into Stealing Election

Episode Three: The Fake Electors Plot As Basically Written By The Coen Brothers, Woodchipper Included

Episode Four: Trump Lawyers Tripped Jeff Clark As He Was Stumbling Backwards Into A Coup. Demand Medal Of Honor, Please.

Episode Five: January 6 Committee Reminds Us One Time Mike Pence Did Right Thing. Once.

[January 6 Report]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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