Speaking Saturday at a “Defend Your Vote” rally hosted by the Republican Party of Milwaukee County, former Milwaukee County Sheriff and Trump ally David Clarke called for the creation of a Proud Boys chapter in Wisconsin. Clarke said, “We need a chapter of the Proud Boys right here in Wisconsin because they’re the only ones with the courage to get in the face of Black Lives Matter.”
The rally was held at Serb Hall in Milwaukee to coincide with the “Stop the Steal” demonstration in Washington D.C. organized by fascistic groups and sections of the Republican Party. Trump drove by the D.C. demonstration and saluted the crowd, after which he issued a series of fascistic tweets denouncing counter-demonstrators opposing his electoral coup plot as “scum.”
In attendance at the “Stop the Steal” demonstration were the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, who violently attacked anti-Trump protesters Saturday evening while the police stood by.
Clarke, speaking to a small crowd of less than 200 people, said, “Pro-free speech, pro-gun rights, glorifying the entrepreneur, venerating the housewife, reinstating the spirit of Western chauvinism, that’s what the Proud Boys stand for.”
Following his remarks, the event was abruptly ended by health officials, who cited multiple violations of pandemic restrictions that had been imposed by state and local authorities. The Milwaukee Health Department reported that its inspectors were threatened by rally attendees.
Also in attendance was Republican State Senator Chris Kapenga. The local ABC TV affiliate reported, “Kapenga said he was invited to speak at the rally by the Republican Party of Milwaukee County to discuss voter fraud concerns.”
Trump lost Wisconsin with its 10 electoral votes by a narrow margin of just over 20,000 votes, or 0.7 percent. Wisconsin is one of the three “blue wall” Midwestern industrial states, along with Michigan and Pennsylvania, which Trump won in 2016 but lost in this month’s election. On Wednesday, he filed for recounts in Milwaukee and Dana counties, both of which voted heavily for Joe Biden.
Asked by ABC 12 Wisconsin about Clarke’s call to establish a Proud Boys chapter in Wisconsin, Kapenga deflected the question, claiming, “I did not hear him say that and don’t know much about the Proud Boys.” The Republican Party of Milwaukee County refused requests for a statement when asked by the ABC television affiliate.
Kapenga has accused Democratic Governor Tony Evers of “dictatorial power grabs” for issuing an emergency order in September in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. He has posted incendiary tweets showing Evers wearing a mask, encouraging the same vigilante types that were caught plotting to kidnap and murder Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has designated the Proud Boys as a hate group known to “maintain affiliations with known extremists.” The Proud Boys was founded by the fascist Gavin McInnes, who hosts a show bearing his name.
Brian Brathovd, the host of The Daily Shoah, one of the most popular fascist podcasts, stated on air that if the Proud Boys were pressed to explain what “Western chauvinism” means, “like 90 percent of them would tell you something along the lines of ‘Hitler was right. Gas the Jews.’”
Clarke was named the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) Sheriff of the Year for 2016 and was a featured speaker at an anti-lockdown rally in Michigan that was attended by some of those involved in the plot against Governor Whitmer. He spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention, served as a spokesperson and senior adviser to the pro-Trump super PAC America First Policies until 2019, and currently is on the board of Steve Bannon’s border wall funding group We Build the Wall, which is now facing charges of defrauding “hundreds of thousands of donors.”
The CSPOA is closely connected to the fascist Oath Keepers. One of its founders, former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, was a founding member and leader of the Oath Keepers.