In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign, where Trump suggested that he would not acknowledge defeat. Divided We Stand, our next book, explains that his legal challenges to the election of Joseph Biden have toggled between appalling and farcical. But his base continues to believe the bogus narrative.
Veterans of President Donald Trump’s failed reelection campaign had key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting the grassroots image pushed by groups involved in the event.
A pro-Trump nonprofit organization called Women for America First hosted the “Save America Rally” on Jan. 6 at the Ellipse, a federally owned patch of land near the White House. But an attachment to the permit, granted by the National Park Service, lists more than half a dozen people in staff positions who just weeks earlier had been paid thousands of dollars by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. Other staff scheduled to be “on site” during the protest have close ties to the White House.
Robert O'Harrow Jr.at WP
Caroline Wren, a veteran GOP fundraiser, is named as a “VIP Advisor” on an attachment to the permit that Women for America First provided to the Park Service. Between mid-March and mid-November, Donald J. Trump for President Inc. paid Wren $20,000 a month, according to Federal Election Commission records. During the campaign, she was a national finance consultant for Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee.
Maggie Mulvaney, a niece of former top Trump aide Mick Mulvaney, is listed on the permit attachment as the “VIP Lead.” She worked as director of finance operations for the Trump campaign, according to her LinkedIn profile. FEC records show Maggie Mulvaney was earning $5,000 every two weeks from Trump’s reelection campaign, with the most recent payment reported on November 13.
The fiery rallies that preceded the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 were organized and promoted by an array of established conservative insiders and activists, documents and videos show.
The Republican Attorneys General Association was involved, as were the activist groups Turning Point Action and Tea Party Patriots. At least six current or former members of the Council for National Policy (CNP), an influential group that for decades has served as a hub for conservative and Christian activists, also played roles in promoting the rallies.
The two days of rallies were staged not by white nationalists and other extremists, but by well-funded nonprofit groups and individuals that figure prominently in the machinery of conservative activism in Washington.
- Council for National Policy (CNP)
- Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA)
- Rule of Law Defense Fund [a RAGA affiliate]
- Turning Point Action
- Women for America First
- The Tea Party Patriots
On an online ride-sharing forum, Patriot Caravans for 45, more than 4,000 members coordinated travel from as far away as California and South Dakota. Some 2,000 people donated at least $181,700 to another site, Wild Protest, leaving messages urging ralliers to halt the certification of the vote.
Oath Keepers, a self-identified militia whose members breached the Capitol, had solicited donations online to cover “gas, airfare, hotels, food and equipment.” Many others raised money through the crowdfunding site GoFundMe or, more often, its explicitly Christian counterpart, GiveSendGo. (On Monday, the money transfer service PayPal stopped working with GiveSendGo because of its links to the violence at the Capitol.)
A chief sponsor of many rallies leading up to the riot, including the one featuring the president on Jan. 6, was Women for America First, a conservative nonprofit. Its leaders include Amy Kremer, who rose to prominence in the Tea Party movement, and her daughter, Kylie Jane Kremer, 30. She started a “Stop the Steal” Facebook page on Nov. 4. More than 320,000 people signed up in less than a day, but the platform promptly shut it down for fears of inciting violence. The group has denied any violent intent.
By far the most visible financial backer of Women for America First’s efforts was Mike Lindell, a founder of the MyPillow bedding company, identified on a now-defunct website as one of the “generous sponsors” of a bus tour promoting Mr. Trump's attempt to overturn the election. In addition, he was an important supporter of Right Side Broadcasting, an obscure pro-Trump television network that provided blanket coverage of Trump rallies after the vote, and a podcast run by the former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon that also sponsored the bus tour.
Supporters of President Donald Trump are among a handful of groups that have applied for permits to hold protests during Joe Biden’s inauguration. But it appears unlikely their application will be approved as the National Park Service greatly curtails protests as part of a major security lockdown.The NPS released details Friday of the five permit applications it had received so far for demonstrations. Among them, was a group called “Let America Hear Us, Roar For Trump.”NPS spokesman Mike Litterst told The Associated Press that the pro-Trump group had “not responded to our repeated attempts to contact them and set up a meeting regarding their application and their permit is therefore unlikely to be issued.”