- Arrested in Riverside, California
- Sentenced on March 7, 2022
- FAA Employee
But TTP found that many Trump followers have already taken up that mantle on Facebook, forming an extensive array of “Patriot Party” groups and pages on the social network.
The effort so far appears to be largely decentralized, but is spreading rapidly, with some groups gaining thousands of members in just days. Many Patriot Party groups have adopted a common symbol associated with white nationalism and are filled with talk of organizing local militia and overthrowing the government. Some of the groups arranged transportation for people to attend “Stop the Steal” rallies in Washington, D.C., including the event that led to the deadly Capitol riot.
Another post in a Facebook group called “The Patriot Party” included the hashtag #OccupyCongress and the slogan “The Great Betrayal,” alongside text that read, “If they won’t hear us, they will fear us.”
In response to the report, Facebook said it removed the Tiananmen Square post, and told CNN it had “proactively detected” and was removing the “Patriot Party” group that featured the militia organizing message.
TTP identified 51 Facebook Groups and 85 Facebook Pages that include “Patriot Party” in their name or use iconography that’s come to be associated with the movement. Roughly two-thirds of the groups and more than half of the pages were created after the 2020 election.
Some Facebook Patriot Party groups have gained thousands of members in a matter of days.
As with other kinds of online extremism, Facebook’s algorithms have helped to drive the growth of the Patriot Party movement by recommending content to users through its Related Pages feature.
Many Patriot Party groups have adopted a lion’s head symbol originally associated with the white nationalist group VDARE. Trump retweeted a campaign video that used the symbol in 2019.
Patriot Party Facebook groups helped organize “Stop the Steal” marches in Washington, D.C., starting in December. Members of these groups have maintained the extremist rhetoric since then, including a call to block Biden’s inauguration.
The deep militia roots of many Patriot Party groups echoes the activity of some European far-right organizations, which have cultivated both political and paramilitary elements.