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My night out with the Proud Boys Enrique Tarrio is taking the hit for Donald Trump

Even Enrique's foes call him charismatic. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP/Getty Images)

Even Enrique's foes call him charismatic. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP/Getty Images)


September 19, 2023   6 mins

When I first met the leader of the Proud Boys, he was relaxing over a burger and chicken wings in an Irish bar, wearing his trademark mirror shades and a T-shirt emblazoned with the words: “Democrats eat and fuck children.” His protective vest lay on the ground beside his seat, a reminder that this notorious rabble-rouser was recovering from a stab to the stomach, received during a brawl near the White House in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s electoral defeat.

Enrique Tarrio spoke softly, talked freely and was not drinking alcohol as he was teetotal — despite insisting that his men-only group was little more than a laddish drinking club. Such claims seemed less convincing, however, as that night in November 2020 wore on. It began with amiable chat in a Washington bar — but it ended with the beating of a black woman by his band of far-Right thugs.

Yet it was easy to see why even Tarrio’s foes called him charismatic, with his ready smile and relaxed style. At one point, as we talked, I told him that his group reminded me of the hooligans that used to plague British football with their tribal violence in my childhood. He was intrigued. He fired off questions to me about their activities, listening intently as I explained how gangs of thugs in the Seventies and Eighties would attack fans supporting rival teams in the stands and streets surrounding stadiums after games.

Tarrio nodded. “Yeah, I think that’s what we are,” he said, flashing his big smile.

Now, this leader of a gang of political hooligans has been given 22 years in prison for playing a central role in the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol building, which took place just a few weeks after our meeting. His is the longest sentence so far related to the lethal attack that has seen more than 1,100 people charged.

Despite being in Baltimore on that fateful day, barred from Washington due to an earlier arrest, Tarrio was deemed to be a “general” organising the assault, which took place as legislators were certifying President Biden’s election victory. He was convicted most seriously of seditious conspiracy, a little-used charge from the Civil War era, with the judge calling him the “ultimate leader of that conspiracy” and a man “motivated by revolutionary zeal”.

In court, Tarrio cut a pathetic figure in his orange prison jumpsuit as he pleaded for leniency, bleated about “the temperature rising” after Trump’s false claims about a stolen election, and apologised for the riot. “I am not a political zealot,” he declared. But on the day we met at The Dubliner, a pub offering “hearty Hibernian fare” in America’s capital, he revelled in his infamy and gang leadership.

Surrounded by boisterous lieutenants from across the country, he had come to Washington with 300 of his followers for the so-called “Million MAGA March” to protest the results of the presidential election. The convicted thief, former jailbird and “prolific” FBI informant had taken over the Proud Boys two years earlier. Then his profile soared after Trump was pushed to condemn white supremacists in a presidential debate, and responded by saying: “Proud Boys — stand back and stand by.”

Several of his henchmen, drinking and munching burgers, also wore provocative T-shirts bearing slogans such as “I’d rather get Covid-19 than Biden-20” or claiming that General Pinochet — a military dictator whose death squads killed thousands of political opponents in Chile — “did nothing wrong”. Others were clad in the distinctive black Fred Perry shirts with yellow-edged collars, adopted by the group to the horror of the British company, which stopped selling them in the US and Canada. A couple displayed “RWDS” patches — standing for “Right Wing Death Squads” — as reportedly worn by an extremist who shot dead eight people in a Texas mall earlier this year.

Tarrio sold such incendiary paraphernalia from his Florida base. Yet he insisted the Proud Boys — widely seen as a bunch of racist and violent misogynists — were simply mischief makers. He argued the Left had lost its sense of humour as he told us how his group’s culture supposedly revolved around having fun, delighting in mockery of themselves and everyone else. The Afro-Cuban agitator denied they were racist, spoke of social justice, talked about his political ambitions and — after bragging about how Trump boosted their support — began outlining plans for a Proud Girls chapter.

This sounded interesting, given the group’s roots in rampant misogyny under his predecessor. He was the clear leader of their pack, demonstrated by the deference of his sidekicks. But just at that point a tall, bald, bearded and rather menacing man rushed up to our table and interrupted him, telling Tarrio that some Proud Boys were trapped in a restaurant by Antifa activists from the Left “throwing fucking explosives”.

This character — who wore one of those RWDS patches — was Jeremy Bertino, vice president of the Proud Boys chapter in South Carolina. Later, he became the pivotal figure in securing Tarrio’s prosecution after turning on his former comrades in the hope of winning a softer sentence.

After making some calls to check out the situation, including one to a police officer later arrested for aiding the group’s activities, Tarrio polished off his burger and joked to Bertino that while he wanted a shower and some sleep, “you want to party”.

The police officer told Tarrio he was heading over to the restaurant at the centre of the confrontation, urging him “to make sure things don’t escalate”. This did not deter the Proud Boys leader. Instead, his group of about 18 men pulled on body armour, donned helmets and set off along the Washington streets ready for battle — joined by a beefy, pony-tailed Swedish bystander, who had bumped into them in the bar.

The men laughed and joked as they strolled along the streets, declaring that they were going to “beat shit out of Communists”. Even in this strongly liberal city, some people applauded them while others asked Tarrio to pose for selfies with them. After some minor skirmishes, the “prisoners” were freed. So as darkness fell, the group of extremists — fuelled on alcohol and pumping adrenaline — went searching for their foes in Antifa, yelling out intimidatory chants such as “Whose streets? Our streets”.

Their numbers swelled as they marched toward a square near the White House. Trump supporters in red “Make America Great Again” hats thanked them profusely for their efforts. “We’re here to protect you,” responded a pompous Proud Boy. Yet there were also growing crowds protesting against them. One brave woman asked them to justify claims of a stolen election as she filmed their responses on a phone stuck in their faces, a mission that ended with a predictable torrent of abuse.

Tarrio had disappeared but just as some Proud Boys were starting to ask what had happened to their leader, he appeared on a scooter to give them a pep talk, urging them to stay calm and focused. “Hasta la vista, antifascista!” he shouted at another point.

The scenes were chaotic. There was pushing, shoving, and shouting from both sides. Teams of police blocked off side streets as the mood grew tense. “Let us do your job for you,” the Proud Boys told the cops, alluding to their supposed shared foes in Antifa. Then the fights broke out. People ran, punches were thrown. There were shouts, screams and nasty-sounding thuds.

The police cleared the crowd to reveal a middle-aged black woman lying on the ground with blood on her face. Beside her were a smashed phone and braided hair that had been ripped from her head. It was a grim sight. Officers helped the shaken-looking Antifa activist to her feet, protecting her from the mob. One man beside me, his face twisted in fury and loathing, was screaming: “Now you can see what it is like, you bitch. You fucking bitch. How does it feel, bitch?”

This sort of uncontrolled tribal hostility felt wearingly familiar in the aftermath of that election, which stirred up deep divisions that were then inflamed by Trump’s narcissistic challenging of the result. The pro-Trump protest that day had been peaceful with thousands strolling in the sun under a sea of colourful flags and banners. Yet still I had watched amazed as an affable white-haired old woman suddenly unleashed a torrent of abuse when she spied a trio of Antifa activists, hiding for safety behind the police they sought to stop funding.

Reporting on that election, I spoke to many voters across the American divide. Most were friendly, open, and often eloquent when discussing their perspective — yet for all the familiarity of the chain stores and fast-food restaurants in the streets, it frequently felt like visiting different nations when these people talked about politics. Two days before the protest, I was in Richmond, Virginia, as rival militia brandishing sub-machine guns met an armoured car driven by the conspiracy theorists of InfoWars at a “Stop the Steal” rally. People spoke openly about the threat of civil war. So will a second bout between Biden and Trump further rip apart the bonds of this society?

The last I saw of Tarrio was when he headed home after meeting his men by the Washington Monument, clutching a bottle of water. One Proud Boy in a Pinochet T-shirt had a badly bruised face. Police later reported a stabbing and several arrests amid the melee. No one was laughing as the self-styled pranksters of the ultra-Right dispersed into the night.

Tarrio gave me an unsettling insight into a violent, hate-filled sub-culture bubbling away in the heart of American democracy. He was friendly and smart, someone who could have contributed much to society, yet took a delight in stirring up the hooligans, misogynists and racists that followed him and fell for his stunts.

Ultimately, he was a provocateur who used his charisma and flair for publicity to stir tensions. There were are valid questions about the length of his punishment. But he played with fire, fuelled an explosion — and now this 39-year-old man will spend many years behind bars reflecting on his foolishness. “I was my own worst enemy,” he admitted to the court in his bid for a softer sentence. Tarrio was right on this count. Yet as one defence lawyer stated, the ultimate architect of those toxic events that stained American democracy is running again for the presidency.


Ian Birrell is an award-winning foreign reporter and columnist. He is also the founder, with Damon Albarn, of Africa Express.

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Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
8 months ago

Great. Now do a similar hit piece on AntiFa, Black Lives Matter, and Extinction Rebellion. Because justice.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
8 months ago

I’ve read plenty of critical accounts of Antifa and the like, do you demand those writers also write about groups like the Proud Boys in the interests of balance? Or are you merely upset that this particular article paints your preferred side in a bad light?

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I agree with the thrust of your comment but ask the genuine question, where have you read critical accounts of Antifa?

I’ve read Andy Ngo’s book. If I hadn’t I’d be largely unaware of them. I’ve certainly never read an ‘anti’ piece as lop sided as this.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
8 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

So do you think Andy Ngo should also write a book about the Proud Boys? Or like me are you capable of reading articles critical of groups without having a tantrum that it doesn’t also devote an equal amount of space to criticising their political opponents?
If Labour or the Tories/Democrats or Republicans do something stupid then criticising them on their own is perfectly valid. You shouldn’t also have to write a critical piece of the opposition just to balance it up, and I think those that essentially demand that happens are quite pathetic

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

As I said, I agree with the thrust of your comment.

I don’t think you would disagree that MSM are overwhelmingly left leaning. I therefore can also have some sympathy for the irritation felt at yet another example of one sided commentary.

If there’s lots out there as a counterweight I haven’t seen it.

Many of the comments on here, dismissed as whataboutery, are just a complaint against imbalance in the reportage, almost independent of the subject matter. It’s not a good way to address the subject matter, but understandable.

I have no objection to the Proud Boys being portrayed with condescension and contempt, they are clearly deserving of both. But the article also mentions their opposite extreme, which doesn’t get quite the same tone. It’s noticeable and not pathetic to point it out.

Last edited 8 months ago by Martin Bollis
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
8 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I agree too many journalists lean to a middle class leftist outlook, which is unfortunately a product of the decline of local newspapers, and certain papers have become tribal mouthpieces rather than unbiased news sources.
However I don’t think that’s an accusation that can be levelled at this author or this site in general, and I just find it tiresome reading numerous comments bleating “yeah, what about such and such” every time there’s an article critical of their preferred side

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Ian is definitely left liberal.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
8 months ago

So everything he writes is to be dismissed?

David Kerr
David Kerr
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

What? You mean “good people on both sides”?? I’m afraid that your NAIVE CYNICISM is on full display… just like the Donald’s.

Terry M
Terry M
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Billy Bob Dbag, please read the MANY reports on antifa by Nancy Rommelman, a life-long liberal who reported from the front with antifa. It will wake you up. Those are the real threat to democracy. Not a bunch of unarmed frat boys and biker wannabes.
https://reason.com/2020/07/23/dispatch-from-portland-the-fire-next-time/

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago

You forgot the ADL

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
8 months ago

22 years for his part in a riot that he wasn’t even present at.
Sorry, that’s not a criminal conviction. He’s a political prisoner.
Hooligan, thug or otherwise, the legal system and the uses to which it is being put are a bigger threat to your safety, liberty and wellbeing than he ever was.

David Kerr
David Kerr
8 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Putin’s not present in Ukraine. So what is your argument? This guy directed the entire operation, remotely (like Putin). Under his direction, his troops were threatening extreme violence and death towards the Vice President and House Speaker. Twenty-two years, for leading an attempted coup d’etat, seems positively lenient to me. The only two people more senior to him in this conspiracy were the nefarious Steve Bannon and the Cashed-Up-Bogan-in-Chief himself.

Y Way
Y Way
8 months ago
Reply to  David Kerr

Oh. Can I just say that it was likely, then, the most stupid insurrection of all time? Where gun owners forgot their guns? They forgot to bring the weapons. For the insurrection.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
8 months ago
Reply to  David Kerr

Wow, he sounds like Che Guevara, Lenin and Mao all rolled into one. What a lot of bollix you do write!

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

You seem very agitated, Hughie. You got a crush on the Proud Boys?

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

“22 years for his part in a riot that he wasn’t even present at.”
Do you people have any understanding of how these things work? Or are you really this stupid?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

What? As stupid as you boy? Impossible!

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
8 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

For the benefit of American readers who may not be familiar with him, Ian Birrell thinks the sun shines out of Tony Blair’s @rse. Don’t take him seriously.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

I don’t suppose Amnesty International will be taking the case

rupert carnegie
rupert carnegie
8 months ago

Has anyone seen a plausible and realistic reconstruction of what really happened on Jan 6?

I think the Democrats have made a fair case that Trump wound up the crowd, that the Proud Boys etc engaged in a premeditated invasion of the capital, that the Secret Service was behaving in curious ways and that there were assorted eccentric mid level Trumpites talking wildly in various Washington hotels etc etc.

But, so far as I know, they have failed to produce a coherent narrative about the inner working of the “insurgency” and, in particular, what exactly the plan was and what precisely Trump knew and when. His attempt to walk to the Capitol (blocked by the Secret Service) seems perhaps inconsistent with foreknowledge of the invasion. Perhaps. And then there are the peculiarities in the behaviour of some other players e.g. the failure to have enough police to defend the Capital despite the intelligence. At present it does not make much sense.

I suspect conspiracy theorists are going to be spinning in circles on this one for years. But maybe someone out there understands what was really happening in Washington on that day. My hunch is that there were several groups – on both sides of the aisle – with different agendas and that (possibly) Trump did not know in advance of what the Proud Boys had planned – but that is no more than a hunch.

All I think one can say with any confidence at this point is that if Jan 6 was an attempted coup, the average West African general would consider it comically and embarrassingly inept.

Anyone got a better fix on this than me?

Last edited 8 months ago by rupert carnegie
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

One fact that IS crystal clear is that only one person was actually murdered on the day, and that was a white woman, one Ms Ashli Babbitt.
She was shot and killed at point blank range, and in ‘cold blood’ by Lieutenant Michael Byrd*of the Capitol Police.
He was subsequently decorated for his ‘courageous action’. ‘God Bless America’.

(*Who happens to be black.)

rupert carnegie
rupert carnegie
8 months ago

True. But I am still puzzled by the big picture. Do you have a theory? One can concoct lots of different scenarios but I just don’t buy the version being spun by the Democrats i.e. monolithic plot led by Trump. It has to be more complicated.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
8 months ago

A poorly policed shambles that got out of hand. Any meaning and rhetoric to describe what happened was added after the event to try and fit a predetermined narrative rather than being an in depth look at what actually took place

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

This exactly. After reading this article, does anyone seriously think this Terrio guy is leading a revolution.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Deliberately poorly policed. Nancy Pelosi refused the offer of National Guard protection, the capitol police literally opened the doors and allowed the protesters in, the FBI had numerous operatives in the crowd to serve as agitators, the police threw smoke bombs to rile things up and cause panic so the cameras could get dramatic footage 

Groups protest at the Capitol all the time, but in this case, the Swamp decided to create a wag-the-dog event to punish Trump supporters and use it to prevent Trump from running again.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

Thank God ‘we’ did at least did burn the wretched place to the ground on the night of August 24th 1814!*

(* I am the proud owner of a few small items of plunder taken by a kinsman on that joyous occasion.)

Tricia Wine
Tricia Wine
8 months ago

As an American, I am outraged that you have not returned these looted items to the White House.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Tricia Wine

Vae Victis!

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
8 months ago

Looks like the American police are even more crap than ours in the UK – which is saying something.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

It is indeed.
However at least most of ours don’t carry guns! (yet)

Last edited 8 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
8 months ago

Like you I find it odd. While one should never underestimate the ability of people to do dumb things for all sorts of reasons, it does feel like some may have known what was likely to happen but did not act to prevent it since a debacle suited their own purposes.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“A poorly policed shambles” hardly describes shooting an unarmed while woman in the neck at point blank range with .40 Glock 22 does it?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
8 months ago

Sounds like quite poor police work to me, though not uncommon in the States. The police seem to have a penchant for shooting the unarmed over there

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I gather some are worse than others!
The Capitol Police are not exactly the crĂšme de la crĂšme.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
8 months ago

From what I’ve read the standard of police training is a long way behind that of most civilised countries. It essentially boils down to giving them a gun and making them watch repeats of Starsky and Hutch

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

I agree it is a ridiculous exaggeration from start to finish. Call that a riot! No more than ‘a storm in a teacup’. If they want a riot they should look to the Newtonards Rd or Falls Rd.
However it does look as if there is such a visceral hatred for Mr Trump that anything goes, which does not bode well for the future of American politics.
One might make a comparison with another reviled populist outsider, one Gaius Julius Caesar and recall how that ultimately played out for the ‘establishment’.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
8 months ago

That is a very gloomy thought. JC, threatened by court cases, crossed the Rubicon with a far more intimidating collection than the Proud Boys. I think / hope Caesar was more of a monomaniacal megalomaniac than Trump. Relatively speaking. (Incidentally, left short message in temp facility. Can close).

Last edited 8 months ago by Alex Carnegie
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

The catalyst will be, if and when Mr Trump is convicted of a serious felony.
I suspect there are quite a few Timothy McVeigh’s out there, and many with the relevant military experience.
Given the poisonous rhetoric of all this, it may well lead to “Lock & Load” as they say.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago

“One might make a comparison with another reviled populist outsider, one Gaius Julius Caesar”
This is very dumb even for you, Racist Grandpa

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

If you weren’t such a foul mouthed ignoramus people might engage with you.
However that is obviously impossible, but do try to be more original.
RACIST is so terribly boring, can’t you do better that, boy?

ps Or is it girl or girl with wily, I’m never quite sure.

Last edited 8 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
8 months ago

Sir Charles, this squid is paid to derail intelligent discourse. Your wry witticisms are wasted on it. I implore you to reserve your drollery for the worthy (wish I could cite a Roman wink and a nod, as you’re so brilliant at doing, but you out-class all of us).

Last edited 8 months ago by Allison Barrows
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

Many thanks Allison, and of course you are correct, and I should ignore this cretin.
However having done so since its arrival, I decided that a little ‘sport’ was in order but shall on your sound advice return to ‘nihil facere’- do nothing !

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago

Racist grandpa back in action!

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
8 months ago

You really are an annoying and stupid child, you know. I must have read hundreds of your snotty little posts. You have nothing at all to say. So do us all a favour and say nothing.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

It must really annoy you and your Proud Boy buddies to know that are being constantly bested by “an annoying and stupid child”! 🙂

N. W.
N. W.
8 months ago

Got it, so say an angry mob of Antifa are rampaging through the Trump White House in 2025 and attacking people inside, baying for Trump’s head. The crowd is about to enter the West Wing where Trump is holed up and Secret Service has told them to stop or they will shoot as they are at risk of getting overwhelmed by the numbers. They enter anyway. Should they just let them pass and do whatever they want on the other side?
These defenses of Ashli Babbitt are ridiculous. You’d be thrilled if Secret Service wiped out the entire Antifa mob in the reverse theoretical scenario.

michael harris
michael harris
8 months ago

Indeed, What a coup! Tanks…none. Helicopters….none. Takeover of the TV and radio stations… not.
Infiltrated by agent provocateurs (not lingerie wearing)…yes.

Terry M
Terry M
8 months ago
Reply to  michael harris

Guns, knives, truncheons… None.
Yeah, it was a frat party that turned into a mild riot.

R Wright
R Wright
8 months ago

I was watching the whole thing on livestream. The maga lot were standing outside chanting. A police officer opened an entrance and a fairly small bunch of the protesters all went through into the building. They went into open offices and chambers and took photos of themselves. I didn’t even see any violence. By the following day the thing had been rebranded into a ‘riot’ and by the following week it was an ‘attack’. I was astounded at the media duplicity.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
8 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

And then they sold it as an “insurrection”, and then “an attack on our democracy” and then “they were there to overthrow the government.” Kinda tough to initiate a coup when you’re an unarmed, pudgy, middle-aged woman strolling around carrying a flag and a cell phone.
There are so many bald-faced lies coming out of government via their CIA-infested media that absolutely nothing they say is true. Nothing.

N. W.
N. W.
8 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

They were chanting for “revolution” and “civil war” because they lost an election, calling for the lynching of the VP for not unconstitutionally overturning the election results, hunting for politicians with threats of violence, vandalizing the offices, chasing and assaulting police officers and forcing the disruption of the Constitutional transfer of power.
All I gotta say to you hypocrites is if it were Antifa doing the same thing, you’d be calling for their mass execution as traitors and begging for cops to open fire on them.

R Wright
R Wright
8 months ago
Reply to  N. W.

I was watching for like an hour and a half and saw absolutely none of that. It was just a bunch of bemused boomers surprised they’d been let into a glorified tourist attraction.

Terry M
Terry M
8 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

To be fair, there were windows broken and some damage to doors and desks. Not a lot. And skirmishes with the police, who withdrew and let them pass.
I saw much more violent protests during the Vietnam War. And, of course, all summer of 2020.

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
8 months ago

Trump did not attempt to walk to the Capitol.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
8 months ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

Are you sure about that?

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Obviously. That fat clown couldn’t walk that far if his life depended on it. And you think he would do anything that involved possible physical risk to himself?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

Would you, miserable little oik that you so obviously are! Well boy?
.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago

He sounds shockingly immature – stuff a 20 year old would be doing, not a 39 year old. Still, 22 years in prison is way over the top IMO.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The comparison with the football is a good one in my opinion. Knowing a few of them they still talk in the same way, as if they’re still 20 years old and a threat rather than an overweight 60 year old who’s terrified of his missus which is what he is these days. I think you’re right about simply not growing up. I agree the sentences seem rather draconian however, though the States does seem fond of handing out long stretches.

Last edited 8 months ago by Billy Bob
Dominic A
Dominic A
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Interferring violently or otherwise with the transfer of power is treated particularly harshly – as with contempt of court, sedition or treason. Merely passing certain information to a national enemy may warrant head removal, even in most developed democracies.

N. W.
N. W.
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

He’s lucky he wasn’t executed, the prescribed penalty for treason. He got off easy.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  N. W.

He wasn’t even there. Oh ya, he orchestrated a coup, but everyone forgot to bring their guns.

Michael Daniele
Michael Daniele
8 months ago

“His is the longest sentence so far related to the lethal attack that has seen more than 1,100 people charged.”
What an astonishing sentence! As mentioned elsewhere, the only death was the murder of Ashli Babbitt by a capitol police officer (who apparently will never face consequences). The BLM riots caused 100 times that.

Y Way
Y Way
8 months ago

The author forgets, at every description of violence, to describe who started the violence or mayhem. Why? Perhaps because the Proud Boys did not do it?

I am not a fan of ultra machismo groups, but nothing here shows this group instigated anything. I hate violence, but I also know that when someone is yelling, “Now you know how it feels” it usually indicates payback for something someone did first.

Why does the author not tell us what actually happened and instead paints a dark picture of a murky situation only implying fault?

This is horrible journalism. Moody and lacking in facts.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
8 months ago

The famous ‘Western chauvinists’, a slightly belated off-shoot of the alt-right, who provided a right-wing mirror to the violence of Antifa and BLM who burnt down countless American city neighbourhoods over the course of 2020.
While the POTUS was in the White House bunker being protected by special security of whom a great many sustained injures from the Washington rioters in August 2020, it was Jan 6 2021 that the world’s media then ‘celebrated’ for 18 months under instruction from their Democrat paymasters.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
8 months ago

“Trump’s false claims about a stolen election”

This is dishonest reporting.
We don’t know the claims are false. We only know that they are (so far) unproven.
Any election that involves voting machines should be automatically assumed to involve large amounts of fraud.
Whether fraud tipped the balance in the last presidential election is difficult, if not impossible to establish, but it’s certainly not an absurd suggestion.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

How many times does Trump have to get laughed out of court before you start to realize that maybe he’s full of it?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

And your good self boy? Aren’t you “full of it”?
It certainly appears so.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
8 months ago

The entire idea that there was a “general coordinating the Jan 6 attack” is pretty absurd. It looked remarkably uncoordinated to me. Also, for a charge of “seditious conspiracy”, shouldn’t there be someone who was actually convicted of sedition?
I’m not saying Tarrio is a good guy, but any honest comparison of how BLM / Antifa rioters of 2020 vs J6 rioters of 2021have been treated / charged is pretty revealing.
When Trump says, “they’re coming after me but they really want to destroy you”, his statement resonates because his supporters see this disparate treatment by the press, the prosecutors, the judges. They’ve seen an all-of-society attempt to destroy this one man for 7 years, which has tarred his voters (them) many times along the way, and caused them to lose faith in most institutions.

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
8 months ago

Challenging a rigged election is narcism, but when Democrats challenge an election because they’re shocked their ballot stuffing didn’t work, that’s ok.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
8 months ago

The thing I got from this was that he wasn’t at the riot and they used some obscure law from the civil war, generally a time when legal niceties are bypassed. I’m generally not following the trials but that’s pretty shocking

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago

Someone doesn’t know how conspiracy works!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

Do you
.boy?

R Wright
R Wright
8 months ago

I had to stop reading at the part where the author didn’t call out a man being given 22 years in prison for something he wasn’t even present for. You’re a mad man.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Are you people really this stupid?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

Pipe down boy, you know nothing!

J Dunne
J Dunne
8 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

I got further than that, but I seriously thought of giving up at the point where we were told the beaten middle aged black woman we were supposed to feel sorry for in the opening paragraphs was actually an Antifa member.

So not some innocent bystander, but part of a grotesquely fascistic organisation that fully supports the extreme political violence she was a victim of. Poor her.

laura m
laura m
8 months ago

Ya lost me at the sub-machine guns claim. I prefer to read reliable reporters of the Jan 6 protest such as Julie Kelly.

si mclardy
si mclardy
8 months ago

Let’s hope all provocateurs spend as much time in jail. I’m thinking of George w bush, Obama, Biden. How many millions have died at their behest?

andrew harman
andrew harman
8 months ago

I very rarely post on here now although I still read a number of the comments on various articles. I certainly have little affinity with many of those who post: MAGA sorts; conspiracy theorists; Brexit zealots and the like. I am much more in sympathy with the covid (or covid measures) scepticism I encounter here, as well as the Starmer scepticism. I am no leftist / socialist and I dislike the mainstream media which I think disgraced itself during the pandemic (and it was NOT a scamdemic, it was real but the reaction to it exceeded all reason and good sense).
However, there is one poster, very in evidence on this thread who contributes nothing to any debate. All they do is indulge in ad hominem arguments, or the genetic fallacy and often utter stupidity.
Debate and disagreements are always going to happen so why don’t they actually offer something constructive and reasoned rather than schoolyard taunts. I can only assume they are incapable of actually constructing an argument or engaging in reasoned, adult debate and would prefer to name call. Well, I have news for this person: you are not clever, not witty – in fact you are a dreadful, stupid bore.
Yes “Champagne Socialist” (absurd user name) I am talking about you. Grow up or go away.

Last edited 8 months ago by andrew harman
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago

What the Republicans and Trump appear not to perceive is that Cultural Marxism created by The Frankfurt School in 1919 is an ideology. One can only defeat an ideology through an argument which points out it’s faults and put forward an alternative ideology. One aspect needed to defeat Cultural Marxism is to understand why it is so attractive to middle class, largely humanities graduates and not to working class blue collar people brought up in the Methodist/Baptist traditions? Marxism is attractive to Jesuits, hence Liberation Theology , why?
What is astonishing is that the wealthiest country in the World which has not known war on it’s territory for 150 years is incapable of producing the Renaissance Man; someone who is , soldier, scholar, poet, musician, artist and architect but produces Antifa and Proud Boys.
Florence produced Battisti, the USA, Antifa and Proud Boys.
Leon Battista Alberti – Wikipedia

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

What about Thomas Jefferson?

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago

One man two hundred and fifty years ago. In 1500 AD Florence, a city of perhaps 70,000 had Michelangelo, Raphael and da Vinci.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Raphael born in Urbino spent most of his rather short but very productive life in Rome.
Leonardo likewise spent more time in Milan and Rome than Florence.
Michelangelo at least born in Florence, again spent more time time where the money was, Rome!
Off course none of then in any way could solve the ‘chaos’ which was Renaissance Italy.
Only Charles V and his disciplined Tercios could do that.

Last edited 8 months ago by Charles Stanhope
joe hardy
joe hardy
8 months ago

OMG the misogyny!

Cantab Man
Cantab Man
8 months ago

Regardless of whether a hooligan hitches themselves to the veneer of Right or Left causes, they are not – and will never be – justified when they use such causes as a faux-rationale for their acts of pain or destruction. As the article suggests, they primarily look to satisfy their own twisted definition of ‘fun’ and their tribal acts are the antithesis of an evolved civilization. 

The children of Adam are members of a whole

In creation, of one essence and of one soul

If one body part is afflicted with pain,

Other body parts uneasy shall remain.

If you lack empathy for a soul’s despair or pain

The name of human you cannot in worthiness claim.

– Saadi (1258 CE)

The hooligans stand condemned, but I also blame various politicians when they unilaterally decided to stop enforcing law and order a few years ago. They created – on purpose – a power vacuum for such groups of hooligans to fulfill their bloody desires in the streets and neighborhoods.

It’s evolutionary evident that some percentage of narcissistic hooligans will walk among us for the foreseeable future. And it is up to our government leaders to assert the equal application of law and order for everyone so the hooligans’ remain shackled within the set parameters of our socially agreed-upon civilization. 

Last edited 8 months ago by Cantab Man
Jimjim McHale
Jimjim McHale
8 months ago

It wasn’t an insurrection planned by Conservatives. It was all planned and set up on the inside. We all know it. Not a weapon to be found on any of them, but the capital police killed an innocent woman who was invited in by them. They were basically invited in by the Capital Police. Nothing that anyone says can change the facts. Where was the National Guard that was requested by Donal Trump and other Conservatives. Turned down by Nancy P. and her minions. Afterward, Nancy puts a fence around the Capital to show how afraid she was. Nonsense.
Off the subject, but the OPEN BORDER OF THE USA is a bigger problem! A crucial crisis.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jimjim McHale
Margie Murphy
Margie Murphy
1 month ago

I abandoned this propaganda peace half way through. If I wanted a main stream.journalist’s account of Jan 6th I wouldn’t come to Unherd. This is so unquestioning of the Narrative which comes from.Democratic party’s high command that it is laughable. No nuance just MSNBC like hit peace.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago

Bunch of incel losers do a cosplay coup and pay the price.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago

Just because they are bad at sedition doesn’t mean they didn’t try to do it.
Throw away the key.

Last edited 8 months ago by Champagne Socialist
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

Grow up boy! You’re a fantasist and probably always will be.

j watson
j watson
8 months ago

Not the first and not the last who’ll end up sporting the orange jumpsuit for an extended period due to buying into Agent Orange’s baloney and criminality.
The Proud Boys always were inadequate, pathetic Sad Boys. Like 99% of men who join some form of extreme or terrorist organisation/affiliation. It’s displacement activity for the unthinking.
Had they been Black and invaded Congress they’d have been hozed down by the Police and National Guard, so they can count their lucky stars they had allies in high place at least on that day.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Their sentences do seem much more harsh than anything that’s been dished out to those who took part during the BLM riots though, so I’d wager it’s actually those groups rather than idiots like the Proud Boys who have friends in high places

Dominic A
Dominic A
8 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The average sentence for BLM riots 2020 was 2 years (120 convictions). The average for Jan 6 is 120 days (1100 convictions). A plannned attack on the government is taken as more serious than a street riot, for some reason.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

“A planned attack on the government”!!!!
Come off if! It was a complete farce.
When than attack does come God help you, for as history has shown, it will be ‘sine missione’ – without mercy.

Last edited 8 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Dominic A
Dominic A
8 months ago

I know it’s shocking Charles, but it was. A stoopid one perhaps, but with the express, declared intent of distrupting the peaceful transfer of power – by some. Stupidity is not an excuse in the eyes of the law (unless to the extent, perhaps of profound mental retardation). If you try to rob a bank with a banana under your jacket, and writing a stick-up note on the bank of your mother’s chequebook, you still get the time – but you know this already……

Would you be thinking the same way if a leftist mob had stormed into the Buckingham Palace to prevent Johnson being appointed? Whist not claiming super-powers, I am as sure as damn-it that we both know the answer already. I’m just wondering why you are prentending otherwise.

Last edited 8 months ago by Dominic A
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Court Marshall for all officers and NCOs.
The actions of the Proud Boys must be manna from heaven for the Democrats.
If Trump was so worried about the election why did he not make sure officials were at the counts? Trump appears to believe he will be believed even if he does not produce evidence.
If Trump was so concerned why has he allowed himself and his supporters to be manipulated? In this political game of chess it is vital that Trump makes the move least wanted by The Democrats, not the most wanted.
Trump like Johnson appears incapable of maintaining loyalty of those around him whereas Obama has this skill.
The Democrats realise Trump and The Proud Boys lack discernment, sagacity and self- control and therefore are able to manipulate them in doing that which undermines their cause and helps them.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

I am sorry but we will have to disagree over this!

Incidentally Buckingham Palace whilst not invulnerable to solo intruders, could probably repel a bunch of weirdos, such as blundered into the Capitol Building.

Also I very much doubt our Metropolitan Police would have shot an unarmed possibly hysterical woman at point blank range. In the very unlikely event they had done so they would have faced the full force of the Law, and NOT been given a medal.

Dominic A
Dominic A
8 months ago

I agree the Met would very probably not have shot (although….de Menezes) – this is not because they are better police, but because are, quite literally, millions of guns in the the USA, and the police are rightfully on edge. Back to the other point – several hundred people have now been convicted, in American courts, of taking part in an insurrection – judges and juries have poured over the evidence for millions of man hours – you know better than they?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

How many charges were dropped altogether? 120 convictions is shockingly low.

Dominic A
Dominic A
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

200 curfews, 96,000 National Guards deployed, 14,000 arrests – they made quite an effort. 93% of the 7,700 protest remained peaceful (about half of Americans think that most were violent). If there is inconsistency in the police/legal repurcussions, I suspect it may be down to the incendiary nature of the Floyd situation (20,000,000 people protesting racial police violence, watched by the World, with similar protests in many other coutnries in Europe, Asia, Africa); the fact that many in the Jan 6 riot, attacked/invaded/looted Congress to protest/prevent election results from being carried through (an insurrection/treason attempt however incompetent); and that Jan 6 was a highly organised event at the heart of government where cameras cover every inch of land.

Jan 6 – 1,100 people charged. 629 pleaded guilty, about 500 sentences, 100s still awaiting trial. You say this is evidence of inconsistent treatment, I say it’s due to the especial seriousness of treason/attacks on the centre of the system (a long established tradition – one example: taking photos or shouting can get a year in prison…..if done in a law court), and the very real-politic need to go carefully where racial aspects of policing in the US are concerned.

Last edited 8 months ago by Dominic A
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
8 months ago
Reply to  j watson

“Had they been Black and invaded Congress they’d have been hozed down by the Police and National Guard,”
Of course they wouldn’t. They’d have been welcomed with open arms. (btw: the dictionary is your friend. Get one).