Armed Trump supporters arrested at Philadelphia counting site as Republicans echo Trump’s claims of vote fraud

The co-founder of Vets for Trump and a member of the group were arrested outside the Philadelphia Convention Center Thursday night carrying loaded handguns. The arrests came when a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent notified police that the men were traveling to the state from Virginia to “straighten things out,” as vote counting continued in Pennsylvania.

Joshua Macias, 42, and Antonio LaMotta, 61, both from Chesapeake, Virginia, are facing multiple felony and misdemeanor weapons offenses, according to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

Trump supporters gather outside the Philadelphia Convention Center as they await general election tabulation results, November 6, 2020, in Philadelphia [Credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo]

Macias co-founded the website Vets-for-Trump.com. Both men have been ardent Trump supporters for years and have close ties to the Republican Party. Five months ago, Macias was photographed with Virginia State Senator Amanda Chase.

Chase is currently promoting a “Stop the Steal” rally in front of the Department of Elections building in Richmond, Virginia, on Saturday. She is planning to run against Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, who, like Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, was the target of a kidnap and assassination conspiracy prior to the election. LaMott’s now deleted Twitter feed, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, featured several “violence-filled political cartoons” in support of Chase.

According to the police, the pair had traveled to Philadelphia, along with an unnamed woman, in a silver Humvee displaying stickers for the fascistic QAnon conspiracy theory. On the back windshield was a red “Q” and above it the hashtag #WWG1WGA, which stands for “Where we go one we go all.” The fascist conspiracy posits that Trump is leading a crusade against a “deep state” of Democratic Party-aligned pedophiles and satanists, which will end in a “storm” resulting in the execution of his political opponents.

Inside the Humvee, police recovered a semi-automatic rifle with roughly 160 rounds of ammunition.

Earlier this year, Trump refused to denounce QAnon, which the FBI labeled a “domestic terrorist threat.” Trump has alternated between feigning ignorance when asked about the group’s ties to terrorist plots and openly supporting the group’s embrace of him.

Two new additions to the US Congress have openly embraced the fascist conspiracy theory, including Georgia’s 14th Congressional District representative, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District representative, Lauren Boebert. Greene and Boebert have also courted fascistic militia groups such as the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, which have been seen at campaign rallies for the two candidates where they provided “security.”

In an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy falsely stated: “President Trump won this election. So everyone who is listening, do not be quiet, do not be silent about this.”

After being summoned by McCarthy and other Republican Party operatives, groups numbering less than 100 pro-Trump demonstrators rallied Thursday in front of election counting sites in Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Small groups again protested Friday morning in Detroit and Philadelphia. However, in both cases they were outnumbered by counter-demonstrators.

In the face of Trump’s fascistic incitements, Joe Biden and the Democratic Party continue to meekly call for “calm and patience.” Despite the complete lack of leadership from the so-called opposition party, thousands of protesters in defense of democratic rights continued to march in cities such as New York and Los Angeles on Friday night.