A combination here of Mark Maxwell’s reports on WCIA and the Capitol Fax items that picked them up and amplified them.

Mark Maxwell’s Feb. 25 story about Rep. Chris Miller, R-Oakland, whose pickup truck bearing a III%er decal and Illinois state legislative tags was spotted in a restricted space for members of Congress during the Jan. 6 riot. (His wife, U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, is a freshman member of Congress.) From the story:

Illinois Republicans and Democrats have widely condemned Miller’s angry rhetoric at the January 6th riots at the Capitol where he declared he was engaged in a “great cultural war” against “dangerous Democrat terrorists” to “see which worldview will survive.”

Miller acknowledged the paramilitary decal was his, but claimed ignorance about its origins.

“I have never been a member of the 3 percenters,” state representative Chris Miller (R-Oakland) said in an email, before distancing himself from — and defending — the right-wing anarchist militia group.

Some of Miller’s neighbors have witnessed similar anarchist decals on vehicles parked outside their home.

“My son received the sticker that was on my truck from a family friend who said that it represented patriotism and love of country,” Miller said. “The original group, which has disbanded, was not a violent anti-government group. They were not involved in the Jan. 6th riots. They have issued a statement distancing themselves from the extremists who have  copied their name. I have since removed the sticker. My intention was to display what I thought was a patriotic statement. I love our country and consider myself a patriot. My intention was not to hurt or offend anyone but simply to express what I thought was a statement of patriotism. God bless America.”

Here’s the money quote from Jan. 6 in full. A video clip was shared on Maxwell’s Twitter feed and embedded Jan. 7 in Capitol Fax, the Illinois state government and politics blog under the headline “*** UPDATED x1 *** The far-right enablers at the Chicago Tribune.” My transcription reads as follows:

We’re here at the Save America rally here in Washington, D.C. I think it’s important to know we’re engaged in a great cultural war to see which world view will survive, whether we will remain a free people under free market capitalism or whether they will put us under the tyranny of socialism and communist and the dangerous Democrat terrorists who are trying to destroy our country. Anyway, stay tuned (inaudible) Facebook live. If you can’t get it to work, we’ll try to do as much as we can to keep you informed.

A fun footnote: Since Champaign is a college town, it doesn’t really come as a surprise to see WCIA run this correction to the Feb. 25 story. It’s not exactly splitting hairs, but it is a reminder that what we call “anarchy” today is defined a lot more broadly than the anarchist movement of the early 20th century:

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article described the Three Percenters as anarchists. While the extremist militia group is anti-government, it embraces a militant form of authoritarianism and does not advocate for removing all societal hierarchies. We regret the error and apologize to anarchists.

Similarly, “socialism” gets defined today as anything that’s vaguely liberal, like graveled roads and a tax rate adequate to funding the county schools, and has nothing to do with state ownership of the means of production.

And this in Maxwell’s story, “‘Livid’ lawmakers … Jan. 13:

Congressman Rodney Davis [R-Taylorville] recounted a similar tale in an interview with our news partners at the Decatur Herald and Review.

“They had guns, they had weapons, they had ropes to scale the Capitol, they had pepper spray, they had zip ties,” he said. “From eye witness events, they wanted to know where Nancy (Pelosi) was, they wanted to know where (Mike) Pence was.”

“It’s tragic that we’ve got a country that people feel like they can commit acts of violence because they are inspired by politics” Davis said.

Capitol police are now investigating a menacing voicemail left at Davis’ district office in Normal.

“You are responsible for the U.S. Capitol being invaded for the first time in over 200 years,” the caller said on January 7th, before wishing death upon the Congressman and his family.

“I hope your family stays safe because God knows who’s coming for them,” a man’s voice said in the voice message. “I pray God comes for them because the Lord will definitely smite the [expletive] out of all of you. In Jesus’ name may you die… die a horrible [expletive] death.”

U.S. Capitol police believe the call came from a phone number linked to Barzin Emami, a 39-year-old political operative who has worked on several Democratic political campaigns over the years. Emami could not be reached for comment.

Works Cited

Mark Maxwell, “‘Livid’ lawmakers condemn ‘inciting language’ in reckless rally rhetoric.” WCIA-TV, Champaign, Ill., Jan. 13, 2021 https://www.wcia.com/illinois-capitol-news/livid-lawmakers-condemn-inciting-language-in-reckless-rally-rhetoric/.

_________. “Miller removes extremist militia decal from pickup truck, claims ignorance,” WCIA-TV, Champaign, Ill. Feb. 25 https://www.wcia.com/illinois-capitol-news/miller-removes-anarchist-militia-decal-from-pickup-truck-claims-ignorance/.

“*** UPDATED x2 – Kinzinger calls for party involvement – Call for inspector general probe *** Rep. Miller throws friend, son under the bus over racist truck sticker,” Capitol Fax, Feb. 26, 2021 https://capitolfax.com/2021/02/26/rep-miller-throws-friend-son-under-the-bus-over-racist-truck-sticker/.

“*** UPDATED x1 *** The far-right enablers at the Chicago Tribune,” Capitol Fax, Jan. 7, 2021 https://capitolfax.com/2021/01/07/the-far-right-enablers-at-the-chicago-tribune/.

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