Category Archives: White supremacists

White supremacists gathering in D.C. in advance of inauguration

For D.C. protests, Proud Boys settle in at city’s oldest hotel and its bar

The Hotel Harrington and Harry’s Bar in downtown D.C. have been frequented by Proud Boys in recent months.
The Hotel Harrington and Harry’s Bar in downtown D.C. have been frequented by Proud Boys in recent months. (Craig Hudson for The Washington Post)
The Washington Post, by Joe Heim and Marissa J. Lang, Dec. 27, 2020

Located just five blocks from the White House, the Hotel Harrington is the city’s oldest continuously operating hotel and has a long-standing reputation as one of the most affordable in the heart of the District. But over the past few months, the Harrington has been gaining a new reputation: Proud Boys hangout.

The militant right-wing organization that vigorously supports President Trump, which has clashed in violent street battles with members of antifascist groups and others who oppose Trump, has made the Harrington its unofficial headquarters when members come to the District. Several hundred Proud Boys recently stayed at the hotel while in town for the Dec. 12 protest of Joe Biden’s election as president.

More protests by pro-Trump groups are planned in downtown D.C. on Jan. 6.

Wearing their signature black and gold colors, large numbers of the group spent much of the afternoon of Dec. 12 drinking openly and chanting on the street in front of the hotel at 11th and E streets NW. They ranged in age from late teenagers to 50- and 60-year-olds, though most appeared to be in their 30s and 40s. Others filled the outdoor patio at Harry’s, the hotel bar, where they had gathered on previous protest weekends and on the Fourth of July. Harry’s closed midafternoon, but the patio and street in front of it remained crowded throughout the night.

The repeated and growing presence of Proud Boys at the bar and hotel has unnerved some guests and workers, many of whom are Black and Hispanic and were intimidated by their presence, according to two employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

In the past three months, Harry’s has been cited three times for violating social distancing and mask regulations. The violations occurred on weekends when large numbers of Proud Boys and other pro-Trump supporters, in town for demonstrations, were in the bar.

For the hotel and the bar, there seems to be uncertainty about what steps they can or should take. Ann Terry, the general manager of the hotel, declined to comment. During a brief phone call, John Boyle, the owner of Harry’s, declined to comment other than to say that the bar closed early on Dec. 11 and 12 because of concerns over not being able to maintain coronavirus social distancing guidelines. The bar’s website announced it will be closed on Jan. 5 and 6.

Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, said in an interview, that in the past, the group’s members have stayed at the Harrington and frequented Harry’s because they’re accessible to downtown D.C. and close to the Trump hotel and the White House.

He said that the corner in front of the hotel and bar has remained a gathering point for the Proud Boys, but that the group had outgrown Harry’s because it wasn’t big enough to accommodate all of its members who attended the most recent protest, which he said numbered about 1,000.

Tarrio said the group’s members would not stay at the hotel or go to the bar if the businesses asked them to stay away.

“Of course not. I wouldn’t want to go somewhere, a private business where I’m unwelcome,” he said. “There’s many other options.”

Tarrio said he wasn’t aware of reported incidents of Proud Boys refusing to wear masks inside the bar or hotel but said “for the most part, we’re not big on masks.”

Since opening in 1914, the 250-room Harrington has billed itself as an affordable tourist hotel, hosting tens of thousands of visitors to the District over the past 106 years. It was also a family business. Charles McCutcheon, the owner of the hotel until he died earlier this year, was the grandson of its co-founder. Many employees of the hotel have been there for generations.

For some of them, a longtime employee said, there is a fear that the hotel’s reputation is being tarnished by the Proud Boys’ repeated presence at the hotel and bar.

“It’s sad that they feel so comfortable here because obviously nobody who works here supports this stuff,” the employee said.

As dark approached on the night of Dec. 12, members of the Proud Boys donned Kevlar helmets, bulletproof vests, protective forearm coverings and large rucksacks. Many carried long poles, long-handled black flashlights and collapsible batons. Some carried cases of beer. They departed the hotel in packs and began marching through the District’s downtown chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “F— antifa!”

The group made repeated efforts to approach Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House, where they hoped to encounter a smaller number of antifascists and others who had gathered to voice their opposition to Trump and keep his supporters from removing signs or artwork critical of the president and memorializing Black people killed by law enforcement.

D.C. police spent much of the night trying to keep the groups apart and at one point established a police line along 15th Street NW. Unable to break through the barrier, a group of Proud Boys doubled back to the hotel holding a Black Lives Matter banner from a nearby church. They carried it in front of the Harrington and lit it on fire as members circled the flames yelling and hooting.

City officials later said four churches in downtown D.C. had Black Lives Matters signs removed and damaged. Tarrio told The Washington Post he was among those responsible for tearing down and burning the signs.

For the most part, police were successful in keeping the groups apart, but there were skirmishes. At least four people were stabbed during a melee near Harry’s. Police have declined to comment on the political affiliations of those involved.

In the days after the protest, District leaders expressed concerns about the Proud Boys’ presence.

“These Proud Boys are avowed white nationalists and have been called to stand up against a fair and legal election,” D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said. And D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) said a beautiful weekend “was ruined by white supremacists who came to our city seeking violence.”

Bowser said that the city had encouraged Harry’s to close early for the protest weekend and that the bar was not open after 4 p.m. on either Dec. 11 or Dec. 12. The mayor declined to draw a connection between the violence late that Saturday and the bar around which Proud Boys and other Trump supporters continued to gather through the night.

But D.C. Council member Brooke Pinto (D), who represents the ward in which Harry’s is located, said the bar’s complicity in allowing “hate groups” to gather should not be overlooked.

“I am angered and troubled by the violence committed by white supremacists in our city and in Ward 2 over the weekend and last month,” Pinto wrote in a statement to The Post. “Harry’s disregard for public health guidance as these hate groups have gathered in their establishment without masks and without being socially distant before taking to the streets and further jeopardizing the health and safety of District residents is absolutely unacceptable.”

Pinto said she would like to see greater enforcement of the District’s coronavirus protocols and would “encourage local businesses to protect our residents first,” though she did not elaborate on how businesses such as Harry’s might do so. Boyle did not respond to Pinto’s comments.

Harry’s Bar at Hotel Harrington, which opened in 1914 and hosts tens of thousands of visitors each year, has recently become a popular spot for members of the Proud Boys.
Harry’s Bar at Hotel Harrington, which opened in 1914 and hosts tens of thousands of visitors each year, has recently become a popular spot for members of the Proud Boys. (Craig Hudson for The Washington Post)

In all, Harry’s has been cited for flouting the city’s mask ordinance three times since October.

On Oct. 10, an investigator from the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration noticed a server was not wearing a mask as he waited on tables filled with patrons who were also barefaced though they were not actively eating or drinking, according to the ABRA incident report.

The investigator issued Boyle a warning and noted that Boyle said it “would not happen again.”

A month later, on the night before the “Million MAGA March,” a city investigator reported patrons were not wearing masks and were moving about the bar freely, gathering in large groups and flouting social distancing requirements. Outside the bar, he wrote, more than 50 people were gathered listening to loud music and drinking in the street. The investigator called the situation “unacceptable” and issued Harry’s a $1,000 fine.

Boyle “admitted that he lost control of the establishment,” according to the ABRA report. The investigator found “the establishment was basically operating as normal prior to Covid.”

The next day, after thousands of Trump’s most ardent supporters packed D.C. streets and marched to the Supreme Court, many gathered at Harry’s to celebrate.

Dozens of maskless people were gathered outside the bar, waiting to be seated, the ABRA investigator wrote, while patrons inside crowded around small tables and moved freely around the establishment without donning face coverings.

The ABRA investigator slapped Harry’s with another $1,000 fine, its second in as many days.

Patrick Young, 37, spent most of Dec. 12 at Black Lives Matter Plaza, poised to defend the space in which racial justice activists have gathered for months.

Throughout the day, he said, he saw “marauding bands of Proud Boys” try to make their way past police lines and into the plaza.

He was worried that as the night wore on, and as far-right agitators imbibed more, the threat of violence would increase, he said.

The next day, he called Harry’s Bar, asking to speak with the owner. To Young’s surprise, Boyle answered the phone.

“I told him I was very concerned that the bar was becoming a base of operations for the Proud Boys,” said Young, an organizer with the activist coalition ShutDown DC.

It and other local social justice groups have for weeks encouraged their members to call Harry’s and encourage the bar to denounce the Proud Boys and close during large pro-Trump gatherings.

Downtown hotels also received calls and emails from D.C. residents and activists imploring them to deny service to visiting Trump supporters.

ShutDown DC organizers said they will continue to lobby business owners and city officials to do more. Harry’s, they said, will remain priority No. 1. The group launched an online petition this week calling on ABRA to revoke the bar’s liquor license.

“As long as people are coming into our community with the expressed intent of terrorizing our friends and neighbors, we are going to work to keep each other safe,” Young said.

Peter Hermann and Julie Tate contributed to this report.

Benicia group calls for vigilance over possible U.S. coup

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 29, 2020

CHOOSE DEMOCRACY—NO MATTER WHO YOU VOTE FOR

These are tense times. COVID-19 affects us all, with concerns for health, jobs, and schools. We are anxious as wildfire season expands, threatening lives and homes, making air unbreathable. Long-standing injustices call for redress. And as we approach election day there is more going on than the expectable wrangling among opposing candidates. There is a growing apprehension that not all votes will be counted or that the results of the November 3rd national elections might not be honored.

In this time of uncertainty and discord it is essential that the fundamental basis of our democracy be supported. All Americans—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—must be prepared to protect and defend the valid results of the Presidential election whether their preferred candidate wins or loses.

Karen Schlumpp, Benicia

Benicia resident Karen Schlumpp took part in a “Choose Democracy” webinar that looked at the signs of a potential coup—an illegal seizure of power—right here in the United States

“Democracy is fragile,” she notes, “and we have reason to worry. We’ve heard the election process discredited; we’ve seen the US Postal Service systematically undermined at a time when more and more voters rely on mail-in ballots; white supremacists militias have been encouraged to ‘watch the polls;’ and the President has repeatedly dodged the question of whether he would accept the results of an election if he loses.”

A Choose Democracy group has formed in Benicia to draw together people committed to the principles that in the national election

    • Every vote must be counted even if it takes days or weeks to get an accurate count from critical states, and
    • The losing candidate must concede, and Congress, the Electoral College, and state officials must honor the accurate, final vote count.

For more information, and to sign the “Choose Democracy” pledge, go to ChooseDemocracyBenicia.org.

Former Trump official: Trump is enabling white supremacists

Trump’s ‘Racist’ Actions ‘Gave Permission’ To White Supremacists, An Ex-DHS Official Now Says

Forbes, by Andrew Solender, August 26, 2020
TOPLINE

Elizabeth Neumann, a former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention in the Trump administration who endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden last week, alleged Wednesday that President Trump enabled white supremacists and ignored pandemic warnings.

KEY FACTS

In a video for pro-Biden group Republican Voters Against Trump, Neumann says she is “first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ” who voted for Trump in 2016 for his anti-abortion stance.

Noting the rise in white supremacy in the Trump era, Neumann said Trump’s rhetoric made her job more difficult, calling his language and actions “racist” and alleging he “gave permission” to white supremacists.

On the topic of the pandemic, Neumann says experts told her “we need to be executing on these plans,” but that Trump told officials to stop doing their jobs because “he didn’t want the economy to tank and he didn’t want a distraction from his campaign.”

In an interview with Politico, Neumann and several other former Trump Homeland Security officials alleged inaction on white supremacy by the administration, with Neumann asserting “there’s not going to be anything substantive done on domestic terrorism” and stating that Trump “botched” his response to Charlottesville by saying “you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”

CRUCIAL QUOTE

“I do not think that we can afford four more years of President Trump,” Neumann said, concluding, “We are less safe today because of his leadership. We will continue to be less safe as long as he is in control.”

KEY BACKGROUND

Before her time in the Trump administration, Neumann served on the Homeland Security Council in the Bush White House, a role in which she “tracked terrorist threats and developed domestic prevention and mitigation strategies and programs,” according to the DHS website. In the Trump administration, she worked as Deputy Chief of Staff of DHS and as a senior advisor to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Kirstjen Nielsen, and Acting Secretary Elaine Duke before serving as Assistant Secretary. She departed the administration in April, according to Politico, and endorsed Biden alongside over 70 other Republican security officials.

CHIEF CRITIC

“Our brave federal law enforcement, national security, and Intelligence officials work around the clock to monitor every range of threats facing our nation, including domestic terror,” White House spokesperson Alyssa Farah told Politico. The White House declined to comment further to Forbes.

SURPRISING FACT

Neumann is far from alone as a Republican backing Biden. Scores of Republican lawmakers and former executive branch officials have publicly endorsed him, including former Republican Senator and Defense Secretary Bill Cohen on Wednesday. Several other Trump administration officials have endorsed Biden as well, including former Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci and former DHS Chief of Staff Miles Taylor, who alleged Trump claimed “magical authorities” beyond the law.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Taylor predicts even more Trump officials will come forward before the election. “The president hasn’t heard the last of us,” Taylor told ABC News earlier this month, calling his allegations the “opening salvo.”

In Martinez, Contra Costa and elsewhere – white backlash to Black Lives Matter

White backlash to Black Lives Matter was swift. It was also expected

San Francisco Chronicle, by Otis R. Taylor Jr. July 9, 2020 
Justin Gomez at the site of a Black Lives Matter mural that he and his wife, Angela helped organize and that had been defaced shortly after being completed in Martinez, Calif., on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. The couple that vandalized the Black Lives Matter mural (since restored) on Court Street on July 4th, has been charged with a hate crime each for their actions.
Justin Gomez at the site of a Black Lives Matter mural that he and his wife, Angela helped organize and that had been defaced shortly after being completed in Martinez, Calif., on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. The couple that vandalized the Black Lives Matter mural (since restored) on Court Street on July 4th, has been charged with a hate crime each for their actions. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

The expected hostility toward the racial uprising energizing the country has begun.

It was expected by behaviorists and historians because history reveals that when some white people feel threatened by social justice movements, they lash out.

On July 4, the paint had barely dried on the 165-foot long Black Lives Matter mural on the street in front of the Wakefield Taylor Courthouse in Martinez when a man and a woman showed up. They dumped black paint on the yellow letters.

“This is not happening in my town,” the woman said as she spread the paint with a roller.

The hateful display of counterfeit patriotism was video-recorded by bystanders and went viral. On Tuesday, Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton charged Nicole Anderson and David Nelson with a hate crime for defacing the mural.

“It was a peaceful mural, and it was a powerful way, as we’ve seen all over the country, that has been used to think about the importance of Black lives,” Becton told me. “But this one in particular was to think about the importance of Black lives in Contra Costa County.”

The county is roughly 43% white, according to census data. Black people make up less than 10% of the county’s population, while Latinos account for about 26% of county residents.

A 2018 report by UC Berkeley’s Urban Displacement Project and the California Housing Partnership studied housing prices and demographic changes in the county from 2000 to 2015 to, among other things, understand trends producing “patterns of segregation and unequal access to high-resource neighborhoods that have defined the county’s racial and economic geography for decades.”

By 2015, the report concluded, “approximately half of low-income Black and Latinx households in the county lived in segregated, high-poverty tracts — approximately triple the rate of low-income Asian and White households, and a steep increase from 2000. Families in these types of neighborhoods typically face greater barriers to economic mobility [and] are more likely to suffer adverse health outcomes.”

Once again, systemic racism impacts the health, economic and educational outcomes of people of color.

The permitted Black Lives Matter mural in Martinez was repainted almost immediately, but get this: The very next day, a man was arrested for allegedly pulling a gun on people looking at the mural, according to the Police Department.

The retaliation is driven by hate, resentment and fear. Don’t be surprised if it lasts beyond next year’s presidential inauguration.

“These are old means of subordination that white people have used,” said UC Berkeley psychology Professor Dacher Keltner, referring to recent viral incidents, including in Indiana where a Black man was attacked in the woods by white men. “This racism is the fabric of this culture.”

And when protesters rallied earlier this week to support Vauhxx Booker, the Black man who called the Indiana incident an “attempted lynching,” someone drove their car through the crowd, NBC News reported.

Wait, there’s more. A white woman used the N-word while arguing with a Black woman in a Sacramento-area convenience store on June 25. A white diner called someone enjoying a family celebration at a Carmel Valley restaurant an “Asian piece of s—.”

“Trump’s gonna f— you,” he said, rising from the table.

He already has.

The president is a grifter who knows hate is currency in America. He stokes white fear and resentment by painting Black Lives Matter protesters as terrorists and thugs. On July 1, he called Black Lives Matter murals symbols of hate. If his lies were your main source of information about people of color, you’d think the white, Black, Latino, Asian and Indigenous people marching for social justice were a bigger threat to this country than the coronavirus.

That’s why a white couple in St. Louis pointed their guns at protesters who marched past their home.

“The narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression, the narrative of racism — it’s a lie,” said the man in the Martinez incident, identified as Nelson, who wore a red T-shirt with “four more years” on the front. “Why don’t you guys learn about history?”

Once again, ignorance is a hallmark of white supremacy.

Here’s a brief lesson in American history: Southern white people went to war and sacrificed a generation to preserve the right to buy, sell and trade Black bodies. Then this country built statues to honor human traffickers and to remind Black people that their place — no, our lives — were conditional. After slavery was abolished, the lynchings of Black people became appointment viewing. Black people’s homes, churches and offices were bombed during the civil rights movement.

I could go on, but you get the historical context. In this country, when some white people feel their way of life — their status — is threatened, they respond with violence.

Dana Frank, a research professor of history at UC Santa Cruz, told me that some white resentment turns into anger instead of reflection.

“There’s white people that are well-meaning or confused and clueless, and then there’s the people who are actively crossing over into hostility. The second category is much harder to reach,” she said. “I think it’s very hard for your average white person to see all those forms of institutionalized racism in which they come out ahead. How do you open the door to somebody seeing that without that person feeling threatened?”

By getting white people to talk to white people about systemic racism.

Justin Gomez, who obtained the permit for the street mural, organized the effort a week after flyers calling for white unity were distributed in Martinez. Gomez, who is Filipino and was raised in Walnut Creek, has two children. He’s a stay-at-home dad, and his wife is a health care worker.

He told me he was blown away at how quickly the mural was defaced. Then again, he lives in Contra Costa County.

“We see Confederate flags,” Gomez said. “We see a lot of racist rhetoric in our local social media circles, so we fully knew that that was going to happen and we were ready for it.”

Six gallons of yellow paint were delivered to him Monday.

“We’re ready to fix it again,” he said.