- Days before the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Proud Boys leaders complained they had ‘too many losers who wanna drink.’
- The group embarked on a nationwide effort to recruit what one leader called ‘real men.’
- Details were released Tuesday, as part of the feds’ indictment of former leader Enrique Tarrio.
In the days before the Jan. 6 insurrection, the Proud Boys worried they had “too many losers who wanna drink” — and not enough “real men” in their ranks, according to newly-released communications between the leaders of the radical group.
So they embarked on a nationwide online recruiting push, according to unencrypted chats released Tuesday, as part of the federal conspiracy indictment of the group’s former national chairman, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio.
—Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) March 8, 2022
According to the indictment, Tarrio conspired with five other men in the Proud Boys leadership to disrupt the certification by Congress of the Electoral College vote for President Joe Biden.
“It’s time for fucking War if they steal this shit,” as federal prosecutors say one Proud Boys organizer, Joseph “Sergeant” Biggs, 38, phrased it back in November, 2020.
But first, they had to deal with a membership problem.
“Let’s get radical and get real men”
“On December 19, 2020, shortly after plans for the rally on January 6 were publicly announced, Biggs sent a private message to Tarrio in which he stated that the Proud Boys ‘recruit losers who wanna drink,'” the Tarrio indictment says.
Biggs suggested, “Let’s get radical and get real men,” the indictment alleges.
Tarrio and a handful of the Proud Boys’ top leadership created a nationwide “Ministry of Self Defense,” according to the indictment, which quotes extensively from un-encrypted chats obtained by the US Attorney’s Office in DC.
They also created a “Ministry of Self Defense Prospect Group,” which would recruit potential members.
Its unofficial recruitment motto? “Fit in, or fuck off,” according to the indictment.
Both invitation-only “ministries” used encrypted chats and public social media channels to fundraise for supplies and plan the Proud Boys’ presence at the Jan. 6 insurrection down to what members could and could not wear, the indictment charges.
The Proud Boys will “turn out in record numbers on Jan. 6th but this time with a twist,” Tarrio posted on social media eight days before the attack on the Capitol, the indictment charges.
“We will not be wearing our traditional Black and Yellow,” Tarrio wrote. “We will be incognito and we will be spread across downtown DC in smaller teams. And who knows…we might dress in all BLACK for the occasion.”
The top-tier leaders circulated among themselves a nine-page plan to occupy a few “crucial buildings” in DC that day, including House and Senate office buildings around the Capitol, with “as many people as possible,” the indictment charges, ” to show our politicians We the People are in charge.”
Days later, the leaders focused that plan.
“I mean the main operating theater should be out in front of the house of representatives,” one unnamed leader posted on the Ministry of Self Defense chat, the indictment said.
“That’s where the vote is taking place and all of the objects,” the post continued. “So we can ignore the rest of these stages and all that shit and plan the operations based around the front entrance to the Capitol building.”
On Jan. 4, Tarrio responded, “I didn’t hear this voice note until now, you want to storm the Capitol.”
Later that day, after Tarrio was arrested on a DC Superior Court warrant, the Proud Boys leadership scrambled to cover their tracks.
“Everything is compromised and we can be looking at Gang charges,” co-defendant Charles Donohue, 34, of Kenersville, North Carolina, warned the others, urging they each personally clear out the group’s chats, the indictment alleges.
“Stop everything immediately,” the indictment said Donohue instructed.
The group would switch to hand-held radios for the operation at the Capitol.
Days before the attack, Tarrio had been charged with burning a Black Lives Matter banner belonging to a historically Black church in DC.
Banned from the Capitol as a condition of bail, he watched the chaos from a hotel on the Maryland border.
“After I finish watching this I’ll make a statement about my arrest,” he posted on social media, according to the indictment.
“But for now I’m enjoying the show … Do what must be done. #WeThePeople.”
Tarrio pleaded guilty to burning the banner and to attempted possession of a high-capacity ammo magazine; he was released from jail early this year after serving four months.
On Tuesday morning, he was arrested outside a home in Miami on the new Jan. 6 conspiracy charges; Footage of the arrest posted by NBC in Miami shows him being cuffed by agents while shirtless and in his underwear.