Speaking of careful planning, the plot to attack a Pride parade in Coeur D’Alene was deadly serious, and connected to Republican extremists:
At a Republican fundraiser in Stateline, Idaho, a local GOP official named Dan Bell was excited to introduce the next speaker.
“He’s definitely not OK with trans or any of that gay shit,” Bell, youth chair of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, said into the microphone as the crowd laughed. “Please give it up for Dave Reilly!”
Reilly took the stage that day, April 16, to cheers. “A big round of applause for our Sheriff Norris, who keeps us safe!” Reilly said, pointing to Kootenai County Sheriff Bob Norris in the crowd, according to video footage obtained by HuffPost. Reilly is a white nationalist who recently moved to Idaho and aims to take over the state political system from the ground up.
In the crowd with the sheriff was a mix of fellow white nationalists, along with Proud Boys, militiamen and a far-right bike gang. Over the ensuing two months, what bound this group together was a deep ire toward LGBTQ people and a desire to stop a Pride event in nearby Coeur D’Alene on June 11.
With the blessing of local Republican officials and using the same rhetoric as many GOP politicians nationwide, this far-right coalition churned out propaganda falsely labeling Pride as a haven for “groomers” and “pedophiles.” Participants also issued warnings to would-be Pride attendees: We’ll be there to confront you, and we’ll be armed.
And they were. Bigots turned out in big numbers to harass and intimidate their queer neighbors. A U-Haul truck full of masked men from the white supremacist group Patriot Front turned up ready to storm the Pride event, but they were stopped by police and arrested on charges of conspiring to riot, sparking a wave of national headlines.
The Rufo/Tucker/Libs of Tik Tok hate axis knows exactly what they’re doing and what the effects of the rhetoric will be. None of this is by accident.