Donald Trump supporters have been furious with Fox News since election night, when the network was the first to call out the state of Arizona for Joe Biden. But when MAGA’s hardcore gathered outside Fox’s Washington, DC office on Wednesday, they were only able to attract eight people, including a child.
The event has officially been dubbed a “Stop the Steal” rally. But one could be excused if they barely noticed him among the other rain-drenched people passing a few blocks from the Capitol. There was, in layman’s terms, a dramatic imbalance between the seriousness of the protest’s stated purpose (literally, to reverse the results of a presidential election) and the human beings who fought for it.
When asked why the protest against Fox’s perceived anti-Trump prejudice drew so few people – even after claiming that “hundreds of thousands” were behind their efforts – organizer Ed Martin dismissed the idea that crowd size mattered.
“What matters to us is measuring the votes, not measuring what you tell me is important,” said Martin, flanked by a masked protester in a pro-Trump shirt who promised to “make people cry. Liberals again ”.
The anti-Fox rally was a disturbing kick-off to a weekend in which Trump supporters and far-right extremists promise to flock to Washington, DC, in a last ditch effort to avoid clear defeat of Trump’s re-election.
In a series of events with names like “Million MAGA March”, “Stop the Steal” and “March for Trump,” Trump supporters are expected to rally near the White House and outside the Supreme Court to demand the Court to intervene in a still nebulous way of giving the election to Trump.
The far-right Proud Boys, the Trump group said to “step back and stand by” during a presidential debate, will appear at the Million MAGA March. The Oath Keepers militia said its members would be nearby to repel any “antifa”. Meanwhile, a “Stop the Steal” trailer led by InfoWars host Owen Shroyer is making its way through the south and is expected to arrive in Washington on Friday.
Other extremist groups have also announced their intention to present themselves in Washington. Far-right personality Nick Fuentes, who marched at the 2017 white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, urged his racist supporters, who call themselves “groypers,” to come to Washington.
“THE GROYPERS WILL STOP THIS STROKE,” Fuentes told social media app Telegram.
It is highly likely that attendance will be much higher than Wednesday’s affair outside of Fox’s studio. This may be in part because the weekend rallies were promoted by more traditional Republican figures. On Tuesday, Fox host Sean Hannity tweeted a promotional photo of the “March for Trump,” which is set to begin at noon Saturday at a park near the White House.
But even then, there is an internal paranoia that the rally will ultimately disappoint. Proud Boys frontman Enrique Tarrio told The Daily Beast that the name “Million MAGA March” could overestimate the number of people who will actually show up in Washington.
“I also think it’s bad marketing in regards to calling it the ‘Million MAGA March’,” Tarrio said. “Because let’s say we were able to attract a maximum of 100,000 people. It will fail again. I don’t think we’ll have 100,000.
The disparate rallies reflect, to some extent, the different message behind the weekend’s protests: anger at Democrats, at Fox News for calling for the election of Biden, at local and state election officials who refuted the allegations of electoral fraud. At Martin’s rally, a protester raised a new protest, holding up a sign that read “Fox = UN”.
“The institutions that said they were telling us the truth were not truth tellers,” Martin said.
Fox presenter Neil Cavuto came under special criticism during the small rally, with a woman next to Martin holding up a sign that read “Stop the Neal” – an apparent, albeit misspelled, reference to Cavuto baselessly cutting the secretary off. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. allegations of electoral fraud.
“I think it was offensive to the American people,” Martin said of when Cavuto stopped Fox’s coverage of McEnany’s press conference.
Anger at Fox can lead to unusual infighting within the ranks, as the Conservative network is often the one promoting gatherings like these, instead of being the object of their contempt. But pundits also fear that Saturday’s events offer a chance for far-right extremists to get their messages across among more mainstream Republicans.
“I just hope that the people who are here who are not extremists can recognize the extremists among them,” said Oren Segal, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism.
—Additional report by Kelly Weill
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