As Proud Boys are convicted for seditious conspiracy, right-wing media rush to defend them and downplay January 6

Following the historic May 4 conviction of Proud Boys chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and three others for seditious conspiracy for their involvement in the violent January 6 riot at the Capitol, right-wing media have decried the ruling and asserted their innocence.

The Proud Boys have a history of violence and are known to spread hatred under the label of Western chauvinism. The jury found the four Proud Boy leaders guilty for conspiring to violently keep former President Donald Trump in power after messages and witness testimony hinted at violent action at the Capitol. Over the past two years, figures in right-wing media have frequently pointed to the lack of conspiracy charges related to January 6 as evidence that the insurrection was blown out of proportion. The Proud Boys' conviction takes that myopic argument off the table.

While Fox News has barely covered the conviction, many on the right have devoted time to undermining the seditious conspiracy charge and the Proud Boys’ acts of violence on January 6, attacking prosecutors, and defending Trump from potential similar charges. Since the conviction, right-wing media figures have also been defending the Proud Boys by attacking the courts.

Defending the Proud Boys’ innocence, undermining the charges, and calling the trial a “set-up”

  • Founder of the Proud Boys Gavin McInnes posted on Telegram: “Antifa and BLM burn down this country with impunity. Proud Boys wander through a riot and now they’re facing twenty years. These guys have kids. This might as well be the death penalty.” 
  • Right-wing YouTuber Steven Crowder complained that the seditious conspiracy theory charge was too broad, asking, “Can someone give me the definition of seditious conspiracy?” He added, “We're all seditious conspiracy theorists.”
  • Newsmax’s Greg Kelly called the “whole damn thing” a “sham and a shame.” He also claimed that Tarrio “was just unjustly convicted of the worst possible thing.”
  • QAnon influencer The Patriot Voice posted on far-right social media site Gettr, “There is NO JUSTICE here.” He added, “They are being made an example of in the WORST way possible…Do this we will RUIN YOUR LIFE. SICK.”
  • Right-wing radio host Mark Levin suggested that the trial was a miscarriage of justice, saying, “You don't have to be big big fans of the Proud Boys to believe in civil liberties and due process.”
  • Infowars’ Alex Jones called the trial a “total set up,” before attacking trans people.  
  • Proud Boys’ lawyer Norm Pattis used his appearance on Infowars to ask Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) to “get that weaponization committee to subpoena the trial transcripts in this case, all of them, including the transcripts that are under seal.” 
  • Gateway Pundit published a post titled: “JUSTICE DENIED: Proud Boys Members Guilty of Seditious Conspiracy by DC Kangaroo Court – Face 20 Years in Prison – After FBI Created and Planted Evidence in Their Chat Room.” 
  • Right wing social media account Carpe Donktum tweeted: “The entire thing was a total set up, and the cops were in on it. YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS IN DC, THEY WILL SET YOU UP AND LOCK YOU UP.”
  • Conservative reporter Patrick Howley called the conviction, “a miscarriage of justice,” adding that they were found guilty by a “Soviet-style court.” 
  • Anti-muslim activist and failed GOP congressional candidate Laura Loomer attacked Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Speaker Kevin McCarthy for not issuing a statement, adding, “How many more American patriots will be charged w/ ‘seditious conspiracy’?” 
  • Right-wing pundit DeAnna Lorraine reacted to the news saying, “DESPICABLE. Any last shred of Justice in America is DEAD.”

Suggesting that the Proud Boys’ conviction opens the door for the same charges to be brought against Trump

  • Conservative radio host Jesse Kelly tweeted: “What’s happened to the Proud Boys is a travesty and it would frighten you more if you realized they’re gonna do the same thing to you. First it was them. Then it will be Trump. Then it will be you.” 
  • Right-wing influencers the Hodgetwins tweeted: “Corrupt and biased prosecutors, judge, and jurors just convicted the Proud Boys of Seditious Conspiracy, a 20 year felony, for Jan 6. They’re setting it up to indict Trump next…”
  • White nationalist conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec tweeted: “Clear now the Biden Admin is going to charge Trump with seditious conspiracy. This is the end goal of the Garland grand jury and the Proud Boys convictions. GOP primary challengers are telling donors they are betting on it taking him out of the race.”
  • On the May 4 episode of his show The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, co-host Buck Sexton hypothesized that “they're going to try to bring a seditious conspiracy charge against Donald Trump.
  • When asked if she thought charges would be brought against Trump on the May 5 episode of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, guest and political commentator Julie Kelly alleged that, “None of this is by accident. It is a warning shot to not just Trump, but people around him, possibly John Eastman and others, for allegedly conspiring.”