“I don’t think it’s helpful to encourage demonstrations and encourage people to go against the president’s own policy,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, said. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”
And yet, that is what is happening around the country as Facebook groups and special interest lobbying organizations are engineering protests at capitols around the nation for states continuing stay-at-home orders as the coronavirus starts to creep deeper into the public.
Groups created by the Dorr brothers, Ben, Aaron, and Christopher, known for their far-right, pro-gun activism, have called upon people to organize in groups on Facebook called “[State] Against Excessive Quarantine.”
Ohio Gun Owners, of whom Chris Dorr is the director and lone employee, made news earlier this month when he posted a video on Facebook threatening “political bodies lying all over the ground” — as in at a future election — if politicians pass any form of gun control. Within days, Dorr was fundraising off the story.
This movement also has ties to the Convention of States, the same group that has lobbied for an Article V constitutional convention, a move that would have the potential to reconstruct the Constitution.
With their new Open the States campaign, founder Mark Meckler (who also co-founded the Tea Party Patriots group) and his network are asking that people write to President Trump, VP Pence, and their respective governors because “America was built upon the understanding that our right to support our families through work, to engage in trade and reap the rewards of our labors is a fundamental, God-given right.”
Meckler has said these demonstrations represent an “organic developing among the people” frustrated with lockdowns, rather than an effort orchestrated by his organization or any conservative donors. However, the Convention of States Action website links to several of the Facebook groups created by Chris Dorr and his brothers.
“We’re not vetting them or judging them,” said Meckler when asked about the Facebook pages.
Also, on the Steve Deace Show, a conservative radio program, Meckler says that it is an organic movement, but with the new Open the States campaign he is providing a map of the news happening in each state, what protests are taking place, and providing a forum – all under the guise of saying it is simply a place online to “reside online safely, away from the censorship of Facebook.”
However, recent reports from The Washington Post, The New York Times, and TIME reveal that big political donors, such as the Mercers, Kochs, and Texas oil magnate Tim Dunn are really behind the groups promoting these dangerous protests, including the Convention of States.
The same special interest backed organizations that wants to put our civil rights at risk by rewriting our Constitution in an Article V convention now wants to put our health and safety at risk.
Perhaps the most prominent protest to happen recently was the one that occurred in Michigan. To help boost the attendance of the protest, other founders, including a Republican state lawmaker from Michigan and his wife, Meshawn Maddock, who sits on the Trump campaign’s advisory board and is a prominent figure in the “Women for Trump” coalition, also promoted it. The Michigan Freedom Fund, which is headed by Greg McNeily, a longtime adviser to the DeVos family, has also paid for promotion of these events on Facebook.
But governors from both sides of the aisle have disputed the president’s claims about coronavirus testing, which escalates the key challenge in reopening the nation.
With the backing of organized politicians, lobbying groups, and the money to promote such events, the Convention of States and its allies are putting the lives of Americans at risk.