Thousands of pro-Trump motorcyclists have taken to Washington, D.C. this week for the inauguration of 45th president of the United States.
The bikers, who have been following Trump since the early days of his campaign, hope to counter the anti-Trump protests that have been planned for Friday and Saturday. The group started small but now consists of about 200,000 members
Here’s what you need to know about the group.
1. They Attended Many Trump Rallies Throughout the Campaign
Those who followed the Donald Trump presidential campaign closely probably recall seeing Bikers for Trump at least one or two rallies; they were also at the Republican National Convention.
During the campaign, the organization attended Trump rallies as a kind of counter programming to the numerous anti-Trump protests. On its website, the group says that its goal is to “promote and coordinate Bikers for Trump rallies and events nationwide and to inform voters on issues confronting America. To connect patriotic bikers with the sole purpose of electing Donald Trump President of the United States.”
They also say on their website that they “denounce protesters being paid and provided untruthful propaganda and encourage bikers from around the United States to attend Bikers for Trump rallies in a peaceful manner.”
Donald Trump frequently accused his protesters of being paid to be there throughout the presidential campaign, but there was little to no evidence of this actually happening. An article on ABCNews.com.co titled “Donald Trump Protester Speaks Out: “I Was Paid $3,500 To Protest Trump’s Rally” was shared on Facebook thousands of times during the election season, but this was from a fake news website that is unaffiliated with ABC News, and the story was made up.
In the days prior to the inauguration, more stories began to spread on Facebook that protesters were being paid to disrupt the event. This was once again not true.
2. They Say They Are Prepared for Physical Confrontations With Protesters
Mark Connors, a country singer and member of Bikers for Trump, told WUSA9 that the group will not seek out confrontations but that they are ready to clash with protesters if necessary.
“We have made the decision that when those people come, we are going to stand face-to-face with them, eye-to-eye, toe-to-toe, shoulder-to-shoulder with my brothers,” he said.
The group’s founder also said that they do not want to agitate anyone.
3. They Say They Are Prepared to Form a ‘Wall of Meat’ to Block Protesters
Bikers for Trump has also said that they are prepared to form a “wall of meat,” which would block anti-Trump protesters.
“In the event that we are needed, we will certainly form a wall of meat,” the group’s founder, Chris Cox, told Fox News. “We’ll be shoulder-to-shoulder with our brothers. And we’ll be toe-to-toe with anyone who’s going to break through police barricades.”
However, Cox also said that he expects a “peaceful transition of power” to occur and that he does not “have any reason to believe that we’re going to have any problems.”
4. It Was Founded by Chris Cox in October 2015
Bikers for Trump was started by Chris Cox 15 months ago.
Cox says that the organization was formed in October 2015, with about 100 bikers going to a Trump rally.
“Bikers for Trump started as a result of the outspoken nature of Donald Trump and the bikers’ frustration with the direction this country was going,” Cox told Fox and Friends. “We’re a force to be reckoned with. We’re a political phenomenon.”
5. They Have Been Personally Thanked by Donald Trump
President-elect Donald Trump is very much aware of the motorcycle group, and he has thanked them on numerous occasions, including giving them a shout out as recently as during his January 19th inauguration concert.
Chris Cox said earlier this month that President-elect Donald Trump called him to thank him personally.
“Believe it or not President Elect Donald Trump just called me to thank all the Bikers for Trump for all their hard work,” a post on the group’s Facebook read. “He’s instructing his staff to give us the resources to put on the best rally possible.”