Trump Supporters Rally In Washington Once Again For A 'Million MAGA March'
Four weeks after a similar event in the nation's capital, some 22,000 Trump supporters planned to rally in support of the president's efforts to overturn the results of the election.
Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET
Thousands of President Trump's supporters — four weeks after a similar protest — have flocked to the nation's capital for a protest in support of the president and his false claims of a stolen election.
This weekend's Million MAGA March, along with other named rallies, follows a Nov. 14 protest that brought masses of the president's supporters to Washington, D.C., and ended with scattered clashes between rallygoers and counterprotesters.
Several groups who attended last month's protest marched again on Saturday. This includes the Proud Boys, a self-proclaimed "Western-chauvinist" organization known for violent confrontations with left-wing protesters. They're considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Reporter Jenny Gathright of NPR member station WAMU observed members of the group marching through Freedom Plaza early Saturday afternoon. Some of them were holding white power symbols.
A White House spokesman confirmed that as the group gathered in D.C., one of its leaders, Enrique Tarrio, took a public tour of the White House. Tarrio posted about his visit to the right-wing social media app Parler. The White House says that Tarrio did not meet with the president nor was he specifically invited. Tarrio said the visit "shows we've come a long way."
Among Saturday's speakers was former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who in his first public remarks since he was pardoned by Trump sought to deny President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
"People ask me this all the time now, in the last couple of days certainly, on a scale of one to 10, who's going to be the next president of the United States. And I say 1o, Donald J. Trump! 10!" Flynn told the crowd.
Flynn was pardoned by President Trump late last month. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Other speakers at the rally included My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell and right-wing activist Jack Posobiec.
Elsewhere, right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was spotted on the National Mall. Jones also attended last month's march.
Similar to last's month larger rally, Saturday's demonstration brought participants into D.C. from far and wide. Louis Murray, who came from Boston, told WAMU that even if Trump's legal efforts to overturn the election fail, "we can still celebrate Trumpism," and "get ready for 2024."
"This is a very hopeful day for conservatives in America," Murray told WAMU.
President Trump broadcast his approval of Saturday's demonstration, tweeting, "Wow! Thousands of people forming in Washington (D.C.) for Stop the Steal. Didn't know about this, but I'll be seeing them! #MAGA."
On Saturday crowds cheered as Marine One flew overhead with the president onboard en route to another event. During last month's protest, Trump made an impromptu visit, riding by the rally in his presidential motorcade.
Ahead of this weekend's rally, several groups in the area were again planning for counter-demonstrations. On Friday, according to WAMU, both Trump supporters and counterprotesters clashed in the city's Black Lives Matter Plaza, which led to several arrests.
Police lined up near Black Lives Matter Plaza on Saturday to cordon off counterprotesters from rallygoers.
After last month's rally, Trump supporters brawled with counterprotesters near the White House, with at least one person stabbed, two police officers injured and at least 20 arrests.
Demonstrators are gathering at a time when cases of the coronavirus have been surging in Washington, D.C., as in most of the nation. As in November, many of the participants in the pro-Trump gathering were seen without masks or face coverings.
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