Fans of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones who attended Monday’s pro-Trump RNC rally in Cleveland say Jones’ avid support for Trump helped convince them to back the real estate mogul’s presidential campaign.
On Monday, Jones spoke at the “America First Unity Rally” co-hosted by longtime Trump adviser and Jones friend Roger Stone. Jones and Stone for months teamed up to promote the rally, which was originally billed as a gathering to stop Republican elites from “stealing” the nomination from Trump.
Jones is probably America’s leading conspiracy theorist, having helped launch the conspiracy that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” by the U.S. government. Jones also promotes toxic conspiracies about government involvement in a wide range of national tragedies, including the Oklahoma City bombing and the mass shootings in Aurora, CO, and Sandy Hook, CT.
Jones has actively promoted Trump’s candidacy, and the Trump campaign has returned the favor by courting Jones’ audience, including Trump appearing on Jones’ show last December and praising the host’s “amazing” reputation.
Several Jones fans that heeded his calls to attend the “Unity” rally credit the radio host with bringing them into Trump’s camp.
“It definitely caused me to look at Trump more,” said Frank Constantino, a Jones listener from Elyria, Ohio, who joined others at the rally in Cleveland’s Settler’s Landing Monday, just blocks from the Republican National Convention location. “I was not a fan of Trump, I was not a fan for a while. But when I looked at what we have, it was an easy choice for me.”
Emmy Andersen, a Jones listener from New Hampshire, agreed: “He’s doing a real good job in Trump support. Jones has definitely helped Trump.”
For Jones fan Jared McGregor, the talk show host’s push for Trump changed his mind. “I was not fully on board [with Trump] until I spent some time listening [to Jones],” he said. “I’ve been following Alex Jones for a long time.”
Staged just a few feet from the Cuyahoga River, the rally included appearances by Jones and Stone, but not together.
The crowd included gun-toting Trump supporters who took advantage of Ohio’s open carry law. Several said Jones helped them into the Trump camp.
“A lot of Jones supporters are going to vote for Trump,” said Sam Kuric of Pennsylvania with a handgun strapped to his side. “I like how he wants to protect our borders.”
His friend Derrick Leeds, also carrying a sidearm, echoed that view. “He’s taking people away from Hillary,” Leeds said of Trump. “I think the mainstream media holds a lot back from the facts.”
Al Baldasaro, a Trump delegate from New Hampshire, where he is a state legislator, said of Jones’ Trump support: “I think he did an awesome job.”
Corrogan Vaughn, a Maryland Trump delegate who is running for Congress against Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, said the fact that a white nationalist website had been a sponsor of the event did not matter to him. (The website dropped its sponsorship after it was reported by Media Matters.) “Everyone talks about white supremacists, black supremacists, this is America. It doesn’t say anything.”