In Washington, D.C., on Sunday afternoon, the two camps of the pro-Trump far-right showed just how much they hated each other.
They held their own separate diminutive events, just a mile apart, with leaders of each rally taking time to insult or diminish the attendees and organizers of the other.
In Lafayette Park, just a stone’s throw away from the White House, the “Rally Against Political Violence” took place under the beating afternoon sun. It was advertised as an opportunity for speakers to condemn the recent shooting of GOP Rep. Steve Scalise at a congressional baseball practice as well as the graphic depictions of President Trump’s death in both a Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar and a generally loathed Kathy Griffin photoshoot.
The sparse crowd of a couple hundred spread out across the lawn, some carrying “CNN is ISIS” placards while one man lifted a banner for the fictional country Kekistan and discussed the proper pronunciation of “covfefe,” a tweet from the president with a noticeable typo that has taken on mythic status.
The speakers themselves, from Gateway Pundit’s White House Correspondent Lucian Wintrich to Mike Cernovich, something of a pro-Trump media celebrity reporter and a recent addition to the InfoWars lineup, mingled in the crowd before taking the podium for brief speeches. Michael Flynn Jr., the son of the former national security adviser, paraded the grounds Periscoping the event as the day went on.
Organized and emceed by Jack Posobiec, a previous employee of therebel.media who became a viral sensation when he interrupted a recent production of the aforementioned “Julius Caesar,” the event included a host of speeches from these primarily pro-Trump media figures, often decrying “fake news.”
But one of the main potential draws to the event, longtime Trump ally and “ratfucker” himself Roger Stone, did not actually make it in person. Posobiec attributed his absence to “security concerns” and instead read supportive texts from him to the crowd toward the end of the event.
This conspicuous absence provided fuel for the most prominent speaker of the competing event at the Lincoln Memorial.
Richard Spencer, the man who raised his media profile last year to become one of the figureheads of the alt-right, spoke at the “Freedom of Speech Rally” at the Lincoln Memorial, where he contended more people showed up than at Posobiec’s event.
And he took the opportunity to trash the other rally in the process, saying that it was “just a movement based on these fairly repulsive and creepy” minor league celebrities.
“Roger Stone bailed because the whole thing is so pathetic,” Spencer said laughing during a phone interview with The Daily Beast. “It was actually far more pathetic than I had imagined.”
Despite the small crowd, and a few technical difficulties in which various songs unintentionally played out of the speaker at Lafayette Park during some of the attendees’ speeches, Posobiec didn’t seem deterred after the event.
“It was a great event! I got a crowd of Trump supporters to sing ‘Give Peace a Chance’ by John Lennon and that’s a testament to our commitment to peace and our stand against violence and violent rhetoric,” Posobiec said in a private message to The Daily Beast.
This supposed turf war, egged on by Spencer, between the more ideological nativist far-right wing and the pro-Trump media figures whose followings have grown exponentially since his election, has been fought essentially since the day Trump won last November.
It bubbled to the surface last December over the organization of an inaugural event called “The Deplora-Ball,” in which social media personality Baked Alaska (also in attendance at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday) was asked not to attend the event. From there, Spencer began to dub the likes of Posobiec and Cernovich, the “alt-lite,” nothing more than what he believed to be ideologically vacant people just out to promote themselves.
“I think a lot of those people are really against intelligent people,” Spencer said of the other rally to The Daily Beast. “If you’re a total goofball or someone who has no connection with the facts and reality, it’s like ‘ok you’re fucking based.’ They’re all just bad human beings. So many of them are just physically ugly people.”
He claimed that the divergent events on Sunday were actually helpful for the alt-right because it helped determine who to essentially weed out from the movement.
Posobiec and Cernovich, who have managed to be featured prominently in national news outlets in the last few months through a series of hoaxy antics and, in Cernovich’s case, real reporting, want nothing to do with Spencer’s ilk either, especially after a highly publicized event in Washington, D.C., in which some individuals were caught on video giving a Nazi salute.
Posobiec was equally dismissive of the people attending Spencer’s event and said that their concurrent timing didn’t diminish his crowd size.
“Nah not our crowd,” he said when asked about people potentially choosing Spencer’s event over his. Asked specifically what he thinks of Spencer, Posobiec said, “Don’t really follow him.”
Posobiec said that at future rallies, he’d like to invite Donald Trump Jr., Sheriff David Clarke, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, and “of course POTUS himself.”
A small step toward that lofty dream arrived in the presence of failed Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart, who spoke at the Lafayette Park event on Sunday. He used the platform as a run-up to his potential entrance into a Senate race against Tim Kaine in 2018, who Stewart said on Sunday he would “send to the curb.”
No such politician spoke at Spencer’s event despite the fact that Stewart, who devoted a large portion of his campaign to preserving Confederate statues in Virginia, is no stranger to controversy.
As both of the events winded down, both organizers and attendees seemed to think that they were on the right side of the moment; Spencer and his crowd focused on the preservation and prioritization of white identity and Posobiec and his allies focused on providing an alternative to the lying, fake news media while promoting Trump’s agenda.
“This is the just the beginning for us,” Spencer said. “I think it would be possible to have a rally on the mall for tens of thousands of people.”
“I want to have rallies all across the country, we are organizing and growing by leaps and bounds,” Posobiec told The Daily Beast.
And sometimes, they’ll just end up happening at the same exact time.