The unformed group, which has ties to the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., was the subject of mockery across social media this weekend, when poor planning reportedly left dozens of marchers stranded without a ride.
The demonstrators, wearing matching outfits of khaki pants and blue jackets, chanted their intent to “reclaim America” and carried flags and riot shields in apparent anticipation of violence. They were granted a police escort, and the march fizzled out hours later without incident, the Daily Beast reported.
White Nationalist Patriot Front Stranded in Cold After Bizarre Rally
According to media reports, just over 100 Patriot Front members participated in the march through Washington that culminated with a speech by the group’s leader, Thomas Rousseau. His remarks were reportedly drowned out by booing onlookers.
When the demonstration concluded, a logistical error left about “two dozen” members standing around in the cold, waiting for a ride.
The Daily Beast reported that the U-Haul vans the hate group rented to shuttle its khaki-clad members to and from the march weren’t big enough to hold all of the demonstrators. Nearly a quarter of the flag-toting extremists were left waiting in a roundabout intersection for three hours for the vans to circle back, the outlet wrote.
The event, which Rousseau had said in a statement was meant as a “show of strength,” was widely lampooned on social media Saturday and Sunday.
Patriot Front Gets Slammed on Right Wing Twitter
While the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League both consider the group to be a bona-fide white supremacist hate organization, right wing figures on Twitter began accusing the marchers of being undercover federal agents within a few hours of their demonstration.
“The fake group called the Patriot Front that marched on DC with U.S. flags and shields with masks on are Feds,” wrote Republican Arizona state Senator Wendy Rogers. “Probably the same Feds who were at the [January 6] event checking their watches.”
“I’m a diehard conservative and I’ve never heard of the Patriot Front.” wrote a conservative account with nearly 100,000 followers.”Nobody else has either because they are Feds.”
Despite those claims, the so-called Patriot Front has been attempting to spread its message and gain national media attention for years.
In February 2019, three men with reported ties to the group were arrested in connection with hanging racist flyers across Boston. Two of the men had melee weapons in their possession when stopped by police, and one reportedly struck a police officer while being questioned.
The trio, one of the men later said in court, had met online while playing video games together.
In February 2020, about 100 members of the group held a march across the National Mall, much like the one held Saturday. That demonstration, too, failed to bring the group the notoriety it sought and concluded without incident, Reuters reported.
Hate Group Tied to Charlottesville Rally
According to the SPLC, the Patriot Front is an “image-obsessed organization” that spun off from the “explicitly fascist” group Vanguard America.
Vanguard America was present at the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where James Alex Fields Jr deliberately drove his car into a group of peaceful counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 35.
The SPLC claims that Rousseau and other members broke away from Vanguard America to found the Patriot Front after the disastrous Charlottesville event.