Supporters of former president Donald Trump are planning mass protests at a Miami courthouse on Tuesday, following Trump’s indictment last week. Many are promising to come “well-armed.”
“MAGA will make Waco look like a tea party,” a user with the screen name 1776take2 wrote about the planned protest on the pro-Trump messaging board known as The Donald, which was instrumental to the planning of the Capitol riot. “I used to laugh when my mom said that she was afraid if she registered Republican she may be arrested one day. I’m not laughing any more. Just buying more ammo.”
In addition to the angry comments and plans posted anonymously on far-right message boards, Republican lawmakers, politicians, and right-wing pundits have also used incendiary language about Trump’s indictment. “We have now reached a war phase. Eye for an eye,” GOP Rep. Andy Biggs tweeted to his 730,000 Twitter followers.
Trump is facing an unprecedented 37-count federal indictment brought by special prosecutor Jack Smith. Thirty-one of the charges claim Trump willfully kept classified documents in his possession after leaving the White House—some of them in a bathroom at his Mar-a-Lago resort—and showed those documents to people who did not have security clearance to view them. When news of the indictment broke last week, members of The Donald made explicit threats against Attorney General Merrick Garland and his children.
Over the weekend those threats continued, with one user posting a picture of Garland and writing, “America cannot allow this cowardly thug to destroy our democracy. This is what the Second Amendment was made for. Buy a gun or help organize your local militia today.”
The former president is scheduled to appear at 3 p.m. on Tuesday at the Florida Southern District Courthouse in downtown Miami when he will be formally charged. Law enforcement is already on high alert for planned protests. Both federal and local law enforcement agencies are monitoring online chatter ahead of the protest and planning increased security measures, the Washington Post reported Sunday. And law enforcement will take precautions similar to those employed when Trump was arraigned in New York in April, which included barricades, rooftop security, street closures, and sharpshooters, reported 7News Miami.
Researchers who track online extremism at the nonpartisan think tank Advance Democracy told VICE News that they have not so far not identified any “credible or definitive plans to engage in violence or large-scale disruptive activity,” but they have identified individual users who are making plans to attend the protest with guns.
Some users on the forum were also trying to find others who were planning on attending Tuesday’s protest.
“Who’s coming with me on Tuesday? I will be the one in the [fuck around and find out] armor, easy to find, KEK on the back collar,” one member of The Donald wrote on Friday. “I will be there peacefully to speak up about this misjustice, legally I will also be armed, well armed.”
Many of the posts on The Donald directly referenced Trump’s own posts on his social media platform Truth Social. Under one screenshot of a Trump post about his aide Walt Nauta also being indicted, one user wrote: “Revolution Now.” Another added: “I want blood. I want fucking blood.”
Other members of The Donald used language associated with white supremacist groups that advocate for acts of violence they claim will hasten a race war. “Accelerate, the quicker the normies realize this isn’t a free country, the quicker things can be fixed,” one user wrote under a post about Trump’s indictment.
But the use of military and extremist language around the protests has not been limited to fringe message boards: politicians and right-wing commentators are fanning the flames as well.
Within minutes of Trump announcing on Truth Social that he had been indicted, right-wing media figures like Charlie Kirk were calling for mass protests in Miami this Tuesday. On Twitter, GOP Rep. Clay Higgins posted what appeared to be a battlefield command for Tuesday’s protests in a message that featured militia speak, referenced military grade maps, and told Trump supporters to “know your bridges.”
As extremism researcher Caroline Orr pointed out, Higgins is on the House GOP Homeland Security Committee, which is tasked with “ensur[ing] that the American people [are] protected from terrorist attacks.”
“The involvement of members of Congress, prominent political figures, and Trump himself in promoting, inciting, and even hinting at violence is a risk factor for acts of political violence,” Orr wrote in her newsletter about the comments.
And over the weekend, multiple groups formed more concrete plans.
The Christian conservative group Florida Republican Assembly said they chartered four buses to bring Trump fans from all corners of the state to Miami on Tuesday, in what they are dubbing the “America First Freedom Road Trip.”
Laura Loomer, a far-right activist and failed congressional candidate in Florida, has also organized what she called a “peaceful rally” to protest the “weaponization of government” on Tuesday outside the courthouse.
Loomer’s plans were shared by the Telegram channel of the local Proud Boys chapter.
Failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who many predict could be a possible vice presidential candidate for Trump’s 2024 run, has also organized a rally in Palm Beach on Monday night and has said she plans to be in Miami on Tuesday to join the protest. Over the weekend, Lake made it clear that Trump supporters should come armed.
“If you want to get to President Trump, you’re going to have to go through me and 75 million Americans just like me. And most of us are card-carrying members of the NRA. That’s not a threat, that’s a public service announcement,” Lake said while speaking at a Georgia Republican conference on Saturday. “We’re at war, people—we’re at war.”
Trump himself has done nothing to tamp down any potential threats, repeatedly calling for his own supporters to turn up en masse in Miami on Tuesday, just as he did ahead of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Over the weekend, Trump raged on Truth Social, and called Bill Barr a “gutless pig” after the former attorney general called the indictment “seriously damning.” Trump also shared a meme about his indictment with a caption declaring, “THIS IS NOT A GAME, THIS IS WAR.”
In his first post-indictment interview, Trump spoke to his former adviser Roger Stone, who played a key role in mobilizing the protest movement ahead of Jan. 6th.
“Our country has to protest,” Trump told Stone, framing the indictment as a political persecution and claiming, without evidence, that the charges were brought only to “cover up a massive crime” perpetrated by Hunter Biden. “We’ve lost everything.”