Former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke criticized the January 6 attack against the U.S. Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump supporters, lamenting that it wasn’t “serious” enough during remarks at the QAnon-linked For God and Country Patriot Double Down in Las Vegas this weekend.
The right-wing convention brought together a lineup of QAnon believers, conspiracy theories and COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. Clarke, a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, spoke at the event and discussed the assault from nine months ago in Washington, D.C.
“Ladies and gentlemen, that was not an insurrection. If we decide to pull an insurrection, you’re gonna know it. There’s very little you’re going to be able to do about it,” the former sheriff told attendees, Raw Story reported.
Clarke described what happened on January 6 as a “frat party.” He suggested that an insurrection needs to be better organized.
“The only thing I had against what happened at the Capitol on January 6, if you’re going to pull a political movement, you’ve got to have three elements: It has to be serious, it’s got to be well-planned and it’s got to be disciplined,” the former law enforcement officer said.
Hundreds of Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol on January 6 in an apparent effort to prevent the formal certification of President Joe Biden‘s Electoral College victory. Some of the rioters were armed, and many expressed a desire to harm or kill top lawmakers—including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then-Vice President Mike Pence.
Trump and conservative allies, including a number of GOP lawmakers in Congress, have attempted to downplay the reality of the assault, which left five dead and hundreds injured. Last week, Trump released a statement dismissing the idea that the violent riot was an “insurrection.”
“The insurrection took place on November 3, Election Day. January 6 was the Protest!” the former president said on Thursday.
Trump and many Republicans continue to claim that the November 2020 election was “rigged” or “stolen” in favor of Biden. They have not brought forward evidence substantiating the extraordinary allegation, despite filing more than 60 failed election lawsuits.
Claims of election fraud were spread at the right-wing Las Vegas event as well. Jason Sullivan, a social media strategist for Trump’s 2016 campaign, claimed that the allegation was established fact.
“We know there was election fraud, are you kidding?” Sullivan said, Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. “We’re done trying to prove that it happened. We’re about to turn it around.”
Speakers and attendees also promoted QAnon-linked conspiracy theories. The QAnon movement believes Trump is fighting against a Satan-worshipping group of cannibalistic pedophiles composed of Democrats and societal elites who attempt to control the world. Organizers used QAnon imagery to advertise and promote the conference.
Ron Watkins, a major QAnon influencer, spoke at the event and compared himself to civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
“And you might say, ‘Oh, why is Ron the new digital Rosa Parks?’ Well, I want to get on the bus. I want to get on the Twitter bus. I want to get on the Google bus. I want to get on the Facebook bus. I want to get on the Chase Bank bus. We have all been kicked off the bus,” Watkins complained.
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s press office for comment but did not immediately receive a response.