Outside, a man in a preppy popped collar and sunglasses walked around holding out a tampon, asking anyone (for yuks) if they needed a spare mask. The Proud Boys were lined up in formation by the entrance. “Thank you for your service!” a middle-aged woman with a Jersey accent yelled at the group as she walked by with a plastic cocktail cup in her hand.
Alex Jones was riding the elevator with a female companion and a bodyguard. When the elevators stopped on an upper floor, he prohibited anyone else from getting on. “Sorry, really being Covid-cautious!” he said — clearly a joke, since none of them were wearing masks either, and because in fact to do so would make anyone in this crowd seem ludicrous.
The mood that day was celebratory — Trump’s motorcade drove by, and he waved to the adoring throng — but still an air of menace hung over the proceedings. A marker was being put down, there on the streets of the nation’s capital: Joe Biden had lost, and Donald Trump had won, and his victory was being unfairly taken away, and something needed to be done about it. The notion that day that a similar crowd would gather again eight weeks later and lay siege to the Capitol would have seemed fanciful, but not ludicrous.
Stockton was dressed in a blue and white camouflage button-down shirt. Lawrence, who stood beside him clapping and cheering, was wearing red tights, an American flag belly shirt, a red MAGA hat and a Trump flag draped over her like a cape. “If we let them steal the election from President Trump, we will never get it back!” Stockton told the crowd. “Our freedom is not coming back! We must rise up!”
Stockton and his girlfriend, Jennifer Lawrence, left the hotel and pushed their way through the crowd to the stage, where upon arrival, Stockton stepped up to the microphone, gave a massive Ric Flair-style “Whoooooo!” stepped away from the microphone, then stepped back up, and gave another. “Whoooooooooo!”
photo from Jennifer of Dustin at the frist stop the steal rally in Washington DC November 2020…Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence who staged the 3 stop the steal rallies at their home in St. James City Florida June 16 2021….Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence, who are listed on the group’s website as part of the We Build the Wall team, were both served with warrants for their cellphones and subpoenas to appear before a grand jury, Stockton told CNN. He and Lawrence have not been charged with any crime.
photo from jennifer of her at the stop the steal rally in november 2020 in washington dc…Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence who staged the 3 stop the steal rallies at their home in St. James City Florida June 16 2021….Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence, who are listed on the group’s website as part of the We Build the Wall team, were both served with warrants for their cellphones and subpoenas to appear before a grand jury, Stockton told CNN. He and Lawrence have not been charged with any crime. Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence at the first “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington in November 2020. | Courtesy of Jennifer Lawrence
He talked about the liars and the fake news, and the Big Tech oligarchs who wanted to keep everyone at home on the Internet instead of out here, in the streets. He explained how Trump and the whole MAGA movement was an outgrowth of the tea party revolution from a decade ago. He talked about how they needed to gather offline, just like the original American revolutionaries did. He called on the group to march on the Supreme Court. “Our institutions have been corrupted and weaponized against We the People. And that is what Joe Biden’s agenda is! There is no way that senile old fool beat the hardest working and greatest president ever!”
That gathering, a week after Joe Biden had been declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election, was put on in part by Stockton and Lawrence. It was the highest-profile of a whole series that the duo threw together in the days after the election, when they got on a bus and went barnstorming around the country for their favorite defeated president. Organized alongside Women for America First, a Trump-aligned political action committee, and featuring a pair of Trump-aligned pastors, their rented bus rolled across America, firing up crowds with claims of fraud in the vote-counting, rolling from South Florida up to Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, back to Washington again for a December “Stop the Steal” rally, then back out, making it all the way to the West Coast before turning east again. Their trip, as they planned it, would culminate in one final rally, to be held at the ellipse in front of the White House. That one would be on Jan. 6.