Updated | On Jan. 6, 2021, what should have been a routine vote to certify the Electoral College results descended into chaos and bloodshed as President Trump incited a mob to attack Congress. Speaking to a crowd of his supporters in Washington, D.C., Trump delivered a rambling speech encouraging his followers to march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol and “show strength.”
The violent mob — comprised of aggrieved militia members, QAnon cultists, white supremacists, and others — overtook the small number of police officers assigned to protect the Capitol, forcing their way inside. Photos and videos of the insurrection were harrowing.
Lawmakers evacuated or hid. A police officer screamed as he was crushed between the throng of intruders and a metal door. A 35-year-old QAnon believer named Ashli Babbitt was fatally shot while trying to breach a barricade and enter the Speaker’s Lobby.
An armed man with flex cuffs was spotted. So was a person in a hooded sweatshirt that said “CAMP AUSCHWITZ” in bold letters. An attendee from Alabama had eleven Molotov cocktails “ready to go.” All told, five people were left dead, including 42-year-old police officer Brian Sicknick.
(Although initial reports suggested Sicknick had been struck in the head with a fire extinguisher, later reports demonstrated this was not the case. Two men were later arrested and charged with assaulting Officer Sicknick with bear spray, although it is unclear if this caused the officer’s death.)
Among the people who attended the rally and marched to the Capitol was white nationalist podcaster Nick Fuentes. Fuentes has spent months hyping conspiracies about the 2020 presidential election, and attended so-called “Stop the Steal” rallies after Biden was declared President-elect.
Last Monday Fuentes joined a small chorus of right-wing voices encouraging people to boycott the run-off election in Georgia which would determine the control of the Senate.
On his DLive show, America First, Fuentes once again falsely claimed that Trump had won the election, even “expand[ing] his margin of victory in the Electoral College” since 2016. He explained that since the GOP — and Senators Loeffler and Perdue — had not fought hard enough to keep Trump in office that people should refuse to vote.
“At every step of the way, the Republican Party could have kept Trump in office,” Fuentes claimed. “Whether it was the party apparatus — the Republican Party itself, the RNC — stopping the voter fraud on election day. You could’ve had Republican state legislatures take their own electors and appoint them and send them to D.C. You could’ve had Trump-appointed justices intervene and make this right.”
“And ultimately tomorrow you could’ve had Republican senators and House representatives object to and throw out enough votes that we could’ve forced a contingent election and gotten President Trump inaugurated that way,” he added.
Fuentes called President Trump the “people’s president” and accused the “Republican establishment” of “[throwing] him to the curb,” including Senators Loeffler and Perdue.
He went on to say that boycotting the run-off was the only way to punish Republican legislators — aside from violence, that is. “Republicans just screwed us every day for two months straight, and we had no recourse,” he said. “Why? Because we had no leverage. What are we gonna do to them? What can you and I do to a state legislator — besides kill ’em?”
Catching himself, Fuentes quickly added that “we should not do that” and that he wasn’t “advising that.”
Sure enough, Loeffler and Perdue lost to their Democratic opponents Rafael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Lin Wood and even President Trump himself shouldered much of the blame for depressing the Republican vote with election conspiracies. (As one Georgia voter asked RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, why bother voting if the result was “already decided.”)
After Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol, as participants in the insurrection are being identified and arrested, Nick Fuentes once again took to DLive — this time to gloat. He told viewers that the storming of the Capitol was justified because Trump voters had been “denied a legitimate means through the system by which to change the course of the country.”
He also stressed that he has never “justified” or advocated for “massive violence against the government,” mainly because “it wouldn’t succeed.”
Fuentes went on to praise what took place on Jan. 6, claiming that the “aesthetics of yesterday were incredible,” and that you can’t “call yourself a real American if you can look at any photo or video of the events of yesterday and not feel inspired.” He also said that he “cannot say anything negative” about or “disavow” what took place.
“Frankly, I think it was completely justified,” he said minutes later.
“And, if I’m being totally honest, I loved what happened yesterday. And we will see what the consequences will be of yesterday, and we will deal with them, and we will adapt to them, and they’re not gonna be good. … But what I saw yesterday was beautiful. It was righteous. It was American. Our ancestors from our founding smiled upon us yesterday. And I have nothing to apologize for.”
Fuentes also went on to call America an “occupied country,” and denounced Washington, D.C. as an “occupied capitol.” While he was vague about who the “occupiers” are, he claimed they are “not ‘we the people'” but instead “something different” and “foreign.”
[The following clips are from a four hour and twenty-two minute episode of America First.]
Despite early reports, while Nick Fuentes attended the Jan. 6 rally and claims he marched close enough to the Capitol to have been affected by tear gas, he says he never actually entered. Fuentes tweeted a photograph of himself with fellow extremists Vincent James Foxx and Jaden McNeil as evidence of what he was wearing:
Yesterday, DLive, the streaming platform Fuentes uses to broadcast his America First show, announced it had suspended Fuentes and other individuals who they determined had been “inciting violent and illegal activities.” Fuentes had made tens of thousands of dollars in donations through DLive according to a recent SPLC report.
Despite having made comments about killing legislators and how the attack on the Capitol had been “beautiful” and “righteous,” Fuentes claimed that he had not violated any of DLive’s terms of service. In a tweet he wrote that his account had been “wrongfully terminated under false pretenses” and blamed the “SPLC & the media.”
“I was the biggest streamer on DLive, both in terms of viewership and income, by far!” he stated in a follow-up tweet. “I never violated their Community Guidelines or ToS and I never got a warning from their team about my content. This banning is completely political & the result of a high pressure smear campaign!”
[This piece was updated to include updated information on the death of Officer Brian Sicknick.]