Sixty-year-old Robin, a retail merchandiser in rural Virginia, hasn't visited the nation’s capital in more than two decades or ever taken part in organizing a political event, although she was quick to volunteer to manage a stop for one of the four vehicle caravans headed to Washington for what many are calling a historic protest on Jan. 6, 2021.
In an unprecedented request, President Donald Trump asked his supporters to travel to Washington for a “big protest” on Jan. 6, when a joint session of Congress will be held, during which lawmakers will vet the Electoral College votes cast three weeks prior.
A number of House Republicans have committed to challenge the slates of electors from six states where the president has disputed the validity of the election’s outcome.
A Michigan man who goes by the nickname Dr. ENoCH on Twitter is organizing the larger caravan effort, which encompasses 20 cities along four routes. He told The Epoch Times that considering the size of the two prior post-election Trump events in Washington—which the president didn't call for or endorse ahead of time—the Jan. 6 event is on pace to become the biggest Trump rally so far.
“There are two things that Trump's ever asked us to do. One was to vote for him and now, the other one is to be in D.C. on the 6th,” Enoch said. “That's why I started organizing this.”
Enoch will join the route running through Michigan. He said the organizers for each stop are responsible for figuring out a convenient exit from the highway, with enough parking and gas station pumps to accommodate a large volume of cars.
At least three pro-Trump groups that are organizing protests in Washington on Jan. 6—MAGA Million, March for Trump, and Stop the Steal—have reached out to support and promote the caravans.
“It might be one of the biggest caravans we've ever had here in America,” Enoch said.
The president’s legal election challenges in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico have so far borne no fruit. With each passing day of no progress in the courts, Jan. 6 has become increasingly significant. In more than a dozen interviews with organizers for the various caravan stops, the president’s supporters described the day as a historic last stand for Trump and the movement that he's inspired.
“The whole event is going to be like our 1776 moment. It’s an important time to make sure that America stays America. It’s a crazy day, but I want to be part of it,” Dean, 55, of Charlotte, North Carolina, told The Epoch Times.
“I think if we don't save our republic now, I don't know when we can,” said Amelia, 22, of Fenton, Michigan.
“I've never served in the military, but I feel like I'm right now in the military," said Shawn, 57, of Knoxville, Tennessee. "And I'm going into war. I'm going to battle for my country. I think we all feel that way. We're going to get boots on the ground.”
“Trump is not only the president of America. I believe he is the leader of the free world," a Queens, New York, man, who didn't want his name published and who goes by the nickname Storm on Twitter, told The Epoch Times. "If America falls, then the rest of the free world is going to fall to socialism and communism and the New World Order.”
“America is the last stand for freedom,” Storm said. “That’s what I truly believe, and that’s why I’m going there on Jan. 6. It’s a serious thing for me.”
The Epoch Times isn't publishing the last names of the individual organizers out of concern for their safety.
Republican electors in seven of the contested states have submitted competing slates of votes to Congress. In each case, only the Democratic slates have been certified by state officials.
At least a dozen House Republicans have committed to challenge slates of electors when Congress vets the votes on Jan. 6. To lodge a challenge, at least one senator would need to add his or her name to a written request. None have so far committed to doing so, but at least six have said they are open to the possibility, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
For each of the challenged slates of electors, the House and the Senate would retire to their respective chambers for two hours of debate, and vote on which slate of electors should be counted.
Some supporters of the president, including several of the caravan organizers, are also counting on Vice President Mike Pence to take a stand when Congress convenes. As the president of the Senate, Pence is charged with opening the envelopes containing the electoral votes. Some say he could refuse to do so and trigger a gridlock that may have to be resolved by the Supreme Court. Regardless of what may happen, the caravan organizers hope a large presence from Trump supporters will help Pence and Congress make the right choice.
“I think everything lays on Vice President Pence, and I think he will do the right thing and not certify those votes of the swing states in question,” said Eric, 47, of Richmond, Virginia.
“When there's going to be millions of people descending on our nation's capital, he will feel that, I believe,” he said. “I think he’s a good, honest man. And I think he'd do what's right no matter what.”
“If Mike Pence is alone in that fight, that is going to be very hard for Mike,” Garrett, 29, of Oxford, Connecticut, told The Epoch Times. “But if the senators and congressmen and women stand up, and the people outside are standing up, then it's going to make his decision a whole lot easier.”
“I can only hope and pray that Vice President Pence is going to do right by God and do right by the Constitution,” Shawn said.
The four caravan routes start in Boston; Lansing, Michigan; Nashville, Tennessee; and Gadsden, Alabama. The Michigan and Massachusetts caravans plan to converge in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, before heading to Washington via Maryland. The Tennessee and Alabama caravans are to converge in Richmond, Virginia.
All of the organizers for the stops along the way say they’ve never organized a caravan before. All are handling social media inquiries they receive from those who want to join, while some are also proactively reaching out to people to promote the drive. Garrett said he has a personal goal of 100 cars for his stop in Connecticut. He had 24 confirmed as of Dec. 28. The New Haven GOP reached out to him the day before, offering help, Garrett said.
“All of these caravans are almost the veins. And once we get onto the highways, that’s the arteries. And once we get down into D.C., that’s the heart. If we can get people plugged into the veins and get them linked up into an artery, that is 90 percent of what we're doing,” Garrett said.
In addition to setting up the stops along the way, the caravan organizers are passing on tips for people once they arrive in Washington. Nicole, 38, of Clinton, South Carolina, is telling people joining her at the stop in Greenville about the no-go zones in the nation’s capital where members of the Antifa extremist group are known to frequent. She’s advising fellow Trump supporters to have a buddy system with others in the caravan when returning to their cars so that no one is left walking alone.
Nicole is also advising everyone to bring food and water since local vendors are likely to be sold out. She’s also informed those coming about DC’s concealed carry laws; the capital doesn't honor gun licenses from other states.
“We're trying to advise them not to really bring their gun or anything because of the risk. We're coming peacefully. We're not coming to attack. We're not coming to fight,” she said.
“But at the same time, what we witnessed all over the country has been a lot of violence toward President Trump's supporters and MAGA, in general,” she added. “We're being cautious without being stupid.”
Molly, of Holly, New York, is helping people joining her stop to find carpools; she has seven cars committed to her stop so far and is looking for more people to join. Molly told The Epoch Times that she's making the trip for her father, who is too old to make it to the event. She said her dad came to the United States from Holland with less than $100 in his pocket.
“He taught me to love America. He taught me to work hard,” Molly said.
Several of the organizers are taking time off work or away from their businesses to go to the protest. Others are out of work due to the lockdown or have flexible schedules.
Jake, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, said he is taking his last two days off until June. Jake voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016 and changed his mind about Trump earlier this summer.
“I just realized there's this overwhelming hatred for him," Jake said. "And I never really gave him a chance. And as soon as I did, a lot more things made sense.”
Harmony, 45, who's organizing the stop in Gettysburg, said she’d be willing to lose her job in order to go.
“If there was ever a day that patriots needed to be in D.C. in person, it's on January 6,” she said. “This is the culmination of the fight that we've been in for the past four years.”
“It's so important that I would gladly lose my job or my car.”
A couple of the organizers said they were confident about Congress changing the outcome of the election.
“I'm honestly not worried. I think that if we had to take back this country I think that we could and we would,” Amelia said. “I think that there are a lot of Americans with me. I'm willing to do anything to save this constitution and to save our republic.”
Others weren’t sure of the outcome and said they’d part ways with the Republican Party if lawmakers didn’t step up to help Trump.
“If these Republican senators don't do the right thing, and object, and support this fight for election integrity, I can promise you that millions of Trump supporters, Republicans, whoever, Democrats, independents, are not going to support the GOP anymore,” Shawn said. “I'll never vote another day in my life if they drop the ball and don't support this effort.”