Donald Trump has a new line of defense in his ongoing war against protesters: hundreds, if not thousands, of pro-Trump bikers ready and willing to provide extra security at his rallies.
And these barrel-chested bikers are already making some anti-Trump protesters think twice about demonstrating at these events.
There is a burgeoning political movement of bikers in America that wants to take their organization nationwide, and they’re going all in for Donald Trump. It’s an unprecedented step—bikers are a demographic that has never been tapped by a political campaign before.
Trump has embraced his biker supporters with gusto.
“My biker friends,” Trump said during a Q&A at a recent Wisconsin rally. His new friends aren’t just fans and are now pledging to provide ad hoc security at for their new hero, using violence if necessary.
Bikers for Trump, a 20,000-strong grassroots collection of motorcycle-riding supporters, has eschewed violence—at least according to its de facto leader. But it has found that its own supporters are ready to cross that line—if by their own estimation they should deem it required.
“If that means us having to protect ourselves by taking someone else’s life, that’s what we’re going to have to do,” one biker said, in a video shared by Bikers for Trump, on beefing up security.
Trump Patriots, which illustrated its group with bikers and described its purpose as “to provide outside security at all future Trump rallies and events [and] countering the paid protest[er] agitators increasing atmosphere of violence,” racked up more than 18,000 followers before it was apparently forcibly taken over by the hacktivist group Anonymous.
Ahead of a Trump rally in Janesville, an image circulated calling for bikers to “Mobilize to KICK SOME ASS!”
“The sold out rally is a target of a violent protest which has been organized to cause mayhem and havoc… but in response, Bikers For Trump are mobilizing for this and ALL future TRUMP rallies to ensure that any paid agitator protesters do not take away Mr. Trump’s right to speak, or interfere with the right of Trump supporters to safely attend. WE SHALL NOT BE SILENCED!” reads the graphic, which was signed B4T, or Bikers for Trump.
“It was scary, hearing that these bikers were coming [for Trump],” Mario Ramirez, lead organizer at the Milwaukee-based Voces de la Frontera who protested the Wisconsin Trump event, told The Daily Beast. “People felt like those people were going to try to do something bad to us. But no matter what they want to do, we will be there anyways.”
Though Trump’s swing through Janesville was in no way violence-free, the bikers and demonstrators did not ultimately clash.
Chris Cox, who founded Bikers for Trump 2016 in August, denies any involvement in creating the “KICK SOME ASS” flyer, and emphasized that neither he nor his group condones any kind of violence, and that he encourages his pro-Trump compatriots not to be “hotheaded” when dealing with activists.
“We are not looking for a fight, but at the same time, if someone starts one, we won’t back down,” he told The Daily Beast.
Cox—a 47-year-old chainsaw artist from South Carolina who was once praised by Republican congressman Darrell Issa as, “an American patriot and one-man member of the Monument Militia”—is the de facto leader and spokesman of the fledgling political movement, which aims to mobilize bikers as a legitimate, sizeable voting bloc, and (of course) to help make Trump the most powerful man in the world.
“We’re just building this coalition, and when I’m done with this demographic, it’s gonna be as strong as the… Teamsters or the NRA—we got a ground game,” Cox said. “I’ve talked to a lot of bikers to take the political temperature [of the community] and they were all for Trump… You’ve never heard of ‘Bikers for Romney.’ You’ve never heard of ‘Bikers for Nixon,’ or Clinton.”
In the coming months, Cox and his comrades will be plotting events in future primary states, including two biker rallies in New York, before eventually heading out west to California where Cox imagines “we’ll have the biggest biker political rally that’s ever been seen” in the United States.
“Our grand finale,” he anticipates.
Cox believes that any additional security provided by Bikers for Trump is an absolute necessity because the Secret Service hasn’t risen to the occasion during this election.
“[The bikers are there] so they can offset the protesters, so they can be a human shield,” he said. “Isn’t that something? That we have to rely on citizen crusaders to come forward and provide additional security for a candidate who has Secret Service. [Trump’s Secret Service detail] is completely inadequate. Look at the uprisings going on at Donald Trump rallies!”
For his part, Cox claims to have personally escorted roughly 25 protesters out of various Trump rallies.
“We are not encouraging anyone to go out and cause a disturbance or go about or kick anybody’s ass,” he stressed. “We don’t condone any violence. If we get hit, there’s a good chance we’re gonna hit back. But we’re not the first ones hitting them… It’s not our nature to sit by idly to watch this civil disobedience right under our noses… Donald Trump is our guy. If that means we have to show up in numbers… then we will. We can’t have our candidate’s message diluted and distorted because of these protesters.”
And the affections here appear to be mutual. Trump has praised his biker supporters before, both on stage and on social media, touting their endorsements and even getting personal.
“Boy, do you look good, though,” Trump told a biker at the Janesville rally. “You look good and tough. I wouldn’t want to fight you. You think I could take you in a fight? I don’t think so… How about we do it right now? That would be great for television… But I do have more hair than him, right?”
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
Cox defines his organization and this movement by the model biker citizen—law-abiding, politically engaged, family-focused people, not any motorcycle-gang stereotype.
“The bikers these days are nothing like what people have in their minds,” he said. “These guys are professionals, men and women, family-oriented people… And just because bikers want Syrian refugees vetted, and that we want to see a [border] wall built, that doesn’t make us racist.”
Bill Barber, a 61-year-old Biker for Trump (and former hippie and ’60s leftist) who runs the popular Suck Bang Blow biker bar in South Carolina, similarly views Trump as the first true biker candidate of the modern political era.
“Trump talks like a biker,” Barber told The Daily Beast. “His top-three issues—immigration, the economy, and the refugees and [ISIS] and all that—most of the bikers I know are ex-military, they’re veterans. Those are three things that are important to bikers, the issues they talk about the most around the bar here. They believe in Trump, and they want to see Washington shook up a bit… There’s all this liberalism that has taken over the country.”
Barber says that he was ultimately sold on the Trump campaign after he saw “all the political machines trying to fight him,” and protesters disrupting Trump events.
“Every one of the these politicians is a liar, and they’re turning around and calling him a liar,” he said. “Fuck them, I want to see some change in here.”
Ever since, he has helped organize biker rallies in support of the Republican presidential frontrunner, spoken at these rallies, and has kept in contact with Cox.
“Chris Cox is trying to take [us] nationwide,” he said.
Whether or not the organization ever does realize Cox’s vision of becoming as influential a force as the National Rifle Association or the Teamsters remains to be seen.
“9 out of 10 bikers support Trump,” the group claims. “Spread the word.”