But not Jake Angeli. The so-called “Q Shaman” showed up in a horned helmet, facepaint and skimpy furs that showed off his Viking tattoos — a look that one popular tweet on Wednesday described as the “Chewbacca bikini” outfit.
Footage shows that Angeli marched at the head of the mob, invaded the Senate chambers and screamed pro-Trump slogans with and without a megaphone during an unprecedented attempt to disrupt certification of a legitimate U.S. election result.
Angeli, a.k.a. Yellowstone Wolf, was one of several prominent far-right figures who participated in the anti-democratic riot on Wednesday. The protest-turned-mob brought together a collection of white supremacists, Proud Boys, QAnon believers and other far-right personalities, many of whom bragged about their participation on social media.
The FBI and internet sleuths have been working hard to identify the various people who participated, while pro-Trump communities have already started spinning conspiracy theories to disown the mob. One false theory “liked” by Eric Trump on Twitter suggests that Angeli is an Antifa agent.
Evidence shows he is an ardent supporter of the QAnon hoax — one of many who participated in the riot.
Angeli, 33, is a well-known figure in the QAnon community, a conspiracy-theory movement based on the fantasy that Trump is a warrior for God against a cabal of deep-state cannibalistic pedophiles. That imaginary “cabal” includes Democrats, Hollywood celebrities and whoever else fits their narrative at any given time. The movement emerged from anonymous message boards on the internet and borrows many of the conspiracy theories that inspired the “Pizzagate” shooting in Washington, D.C.
Many QAnon believers showed up in D.C. expecting to participate in “The Storm.” That “Storm” is an imagined day of violence and reckoning for the movement, which is based on cryptic “prophecies” from a fictional figure inside the U.S. government.
Angeli has been attending Trump rallies as a Q supporter for years, according to USA Today and QAnon researcher Travis View. Angeli often shows up in his signature furry helmet and facepaint, which makes it hard to miss him in a crowd.
Angeli, who hails from Arizona, confirmed that he was part of the riot in a statement to his hometown news outlet Thursday.
His mom also came to his defence, calling him a “patriot” and identifying him as a former member of the U.S. navy.
“It takes a lot of courage to be a patriot, OK, and to stand up for what it is that you believe,” his mother, Martha Chansley, told ABC 15. “Not everybody wants to be the person up front.”
QAnon has fuelled and amplified many of Trump’s conspiracy theories about the election, including his false claims of voter fraud around voting machines. Trump echoed those false claims on Wednesday, egging on his supporters before urging them to march on the Capitol where the election results were being certified.
Trump lost the election to Joe Biden in the Electoral College and by seven million in the popular vote.
Social media posts show that many minor far-right figures were part of Trump’s rally, which turned into a riot on Wednesday afternoon.
Tim Gionet, a white supremacist known as Baked Alaska, livestreamed part of the riot from inside the Capitol before later deleting it. One clip from the stream shows the Trump rioters taking selfies with guards and laughing inside the Capitol. It has been watched more than 19 million times on Twitter (via Timothy Burke).
The mob also included several prominent figures from the Proud Boys, including Hawaii chapter founder Nick Ochs, along with neo-Nazi leader Chris Hood of the National Socialist Club, the New York Times reports. Members of the armed far-right group The Three Percenters were also present.
Derrick Evans, who was elected as a Republican delegate for West Virginia in November, also joined the mob and filmed himself entering the Capitol.
“We’re in! Keep it moving, baby!” he said in a livestreamed video.
Evans will not be resigning despite bipartisan backlash to his video, his lawyer told WVNS-TV.
“Mr. Evans did nothing wrong,” his attorney John H. Bryan said in a statement. “He was exercising his First Amendment rights to peacefully protest and ﬁlm a historic and dynamic event. He engaged in no violence, no rioting, no destruction of property, and no illegal behaviour.”
Trump supporters flew a wide variety of far-right flags outside the Capitol, including the flags for several militias and various pro-Trump internet memes, such as Kek.
One Trump supporter was photographed inside the United States Capitol with a large Confederate flag — the same flag used by the traitorous Confederacy when it waged war on the Union during the American Civil War.
Far-right conspiracy theorists have been trying to discredit some of their own believers since the attack. Many online posts falsely claim that the mob was staged by Antifa, a loosely organized movement that has become the imagined villain in several far-right hoaxes. Trump himself has blamed Antifa for past violence, without evidence, and appeared to parrot a discredited theory about Antifa “thugs” last summer.
He has also pivoted to attack Antifa when he’s been asked about far-right violence in the past.
In September, for example, he avoided an explicit call to condemn the far-right Proud Boys during an election debate with Biden.
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” he said at the time. “But I’ll tell you what … somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem.”
Trump declined to condemn the actions of his supporters as the violence unfolded on Wednesday. Instead, he told them to be peaceful and repeated his baseless claims of voter fraud, which he used to whip them up into a frenzy earlier in the day.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump wrote in a message that was later deleted by Twitter on Wednesday. He added, “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
Facebook and Twitter suspended him later in the day after he released a video statement, in which he called for peace while praising the mob.
“Go home, we love you,” Trump said on Wednesday. “You’re very special.”
He changed his tune after Twitter restored his account on Thursday night, calling the riot a “heinous attack” in a scripted video statement.
“The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy,” Trump said in the statement.
“To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay.”
A police officer and four people who supported Trump’s false claims died as a result of the unrest.