ICYMI: “Women for America First” Event Speaker Suggests Officials Who Refuse to Overturn the 2020 Election Should "Die by Firing Squad”
The “Audit the Vote” event is part of WFAF’s continuing effort to undermine the 2020 election results — which included organizing the January 6 rally at the Capitol — and to sow doubt ahead of 2024.
By Julia Peck, Alyssa Bowen, and Evan Vorpahl
On Wednesday, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported on a video that True North Research discovered of long shot GOP gubernatorial candidate Kandiss Taylor speaking at the Women for America First (WFAF) “Audit the Vote” event outside the Georgia state capitol earlier this month.
In her speech, Taylor argued that the Georgia officials who fail to audit the 2020 election results are committing treason and, per her understanding of the Constitution, should be jailed or “die by firing squad.” (You can read the full paragraph in her own words down below.)
WFAF has promoted various conspiracies and fringe claims in its efforts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election that Donald Trump decisively lost and other elections. Below, we provide more context about Women for America First, their November 3rd event in Atlanta, and their efforts to apparently incite attacks on demonstrably legitimate and fair election processes.
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What Really Happened in Atlanta at WFAF’s Event
WFAF held an "Audit the Vote" event outside the Georgia state capitol in Atlanta on November 3rd. The event was planned to coincide with a special session inside the Capitol on redistricting (drawing the maps for legislative districts). WFAF’s main demand was that the legislature and GOP Governor Brian Kemp require a new audit of the Georgia results of the 2020 presidential election. WFAF’s Amy Kremer, the chair of WFAF and co-founder of Women for Trump, was the event’s emcee for a long lineup of right-wing speakers, including a GOP candidate for governor named Kandiss Taylor.
Upon taking to the podium, Taylor pointed to the State Capitol building and prescribed violence as the supposedly constitutionally prescribed remedy for public officials who fail to overturn the 2020 election results:
"We have weak people sitting over here [points to the Capitol] that are scared, won't do an audit, won't decertify, and need to be in prison [crowd cheers]. There are three steps to fix 2020: it's an audit, it's a decertification, and it's arrest. We're scared to say arrest, because then they won't do the audit, but it's our government. If you do treason against the Constitution, against the people of our country, you go to jail. That's what you do. You don't just lose your seat [an audience member yells 'Shoot 'em!']. You don't just get primaried. You go to jail. Or maybe you die by a firing squad [audience cheers very loudly], I don't know, I didn't write this. The Founding Fathers wrote it."
[The Founding Fathers did not actually write that into the Constitution. Article III, Section 3 grants Congress the power to determine the punishment for treason. Congress has defined treason as levying war against the United States or aiding our enemies, and has provided that upon conviction, a traitor is barred from holding public office, must serve at least five years in prison or could be subject to the death penalty, and may be fined up to $10,000. (18 U.S.C. 2381) Although the Trump administration maneuvered to change the rules for imposing the penalty of death, no civilian convicted of a federal crime has faced a firing squad in more than a century. The last person executed for treason was involved in President Lincoln’s assassination.]
Taylor’s statements were covered by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, which quoted her verbatim. Taylor subsequently claimed her statements were taken out of context. You can read the full context of Taylor’s statement above and also watch it with your own eyes here.
Other speakers at the WFAF event included state Rep. Philip Singleton, who called for another audit of the presidential election results in Georgia. [He was elected on those 2020 ballots, but apparently considers his own election to be legitimate.] He also told attendees to urge their Republican representatives to be “constitutional conservatives.” In a now-deleted post on Facebook, Singleton compared President Joe Biden’s policies to Hitler’s consolidation of power in post-war Germany.
Salleigh Grubbs, chair of the Republican Party for Cobbs County, claimed in her rally speech that she was the woman who “got in her car at Jim Miller Park and chased a shredding truck,” referring to the debunked conspiracy theory in Cobbs County that trucks were destroying ballots on Election Day.
WFAF’s November 3th “Audit the Vote” event in Atlanta is part of an ongoing, coordinated effort to subvert the legitimate 2020 election results.
Who Is WFAF?
WFAF, which registered as a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) group in 2020, has been in the news a lot because its co-founders, the mother-daughter duo Amy and Kylie Kremer, were subpoenaed by the House Select Committee investigating the violent January 6 insurrection to give sworn testimony about any what happened at the Capitol and the dark money that funded their efforts to coordinate with Trump and others on events that day. They have denied any wrongdoing.
Leading up to the violent insurrection on January 6th, WFAF coordinated a 20+ city bus tour that, according to a report by BuzzFeed, “[spread] incendiary propaganda, lies, and hate across an American tinderbox” before landing in Washington, D.C., for the January 6th rally, which WFAF organized. It was at WFAF’s event that Trump urged the audience to march down to the Capitol where Vice President Mike Pence was presiding over the counting of the electoral votes, a count and certification that Trump repeatedly try to stop through pressuring Pence, the Justice Department, Members of Congress, Secretaries of State, and other officials.
A year after Biden was fairly and lawfully elected President of the United States, WFAF has not only continued to spread “the Big Lie” that Trump actually won the 2020 election: it has also coordinated events across Georgia and in Pennsylvania that attack the integrity of the election, despite the fact that Trump’s legal claims were rejected by every single court that considered them.
At the Atlanta event, WFAF promised to “get to the bottom of what really happened on November 3rd in Georgia,” with the foregone conclusion that, as the t-shirts they sell proclaim, “Trump won.”
As a designated 501(c)(4) group, WFAF can participate in advocacy around elections so long as this is not its primary function. WFAF’s causes appear to be predominantly partisan.
For example, this summer the group announced a campaign to recall GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger who refused Trump’s demand that he “find” votes in Georgia that would have overturned Biden’s legitimate victory in the state. WFAF’s stated objective is to “make our elected officials…do what we want… [W]e use the power we have in successfully recalling the worst of the worst., it’s likely that others will straighten up and fly right. If they don’t we will recall them too.”
WFAF also transferred $19K to Kremer’s Super PAC, dubbed “Women Vote Smart,” which spent $11K supporting the primary campaign of Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) who later voted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The contribution description explains it was designated to pay for travel expenses for “angel families,” a right-wing phrase used to describe families of murder victims of an undocumented immigrant (more than 90% of murders in the U.S. are committed by American citizens). The WFAF money covered attending a “charitable event,” which was likely the “Secure the Border” event co-sponsored by WFAF which took a week after the donation.
WFAF' says it is “grassroots” funded but it was at least partially funded by the pro-Trump dark money group, America First Policies, which gave $25,000 to WFAF in 2019, according to CNBC. Additionally, Julie Jenkins Fancelli, an heir to the Publix grocery store fortune, gave $300,000 to WFAF for the January 6 event at the national mall, according to reporting by the Wall Street Journal. WFAF is not required by law to disclose its major donors to the public.
It is also noteworthy that, as treasurer of the pro-Trump Super PAC Women Vote Smart with Ann Stone (whose ex-husband is Roger Stone) and Kathryn Serkes, Kremer has been repeatedly fined by the FEC for failing to file their required documents. The delinquent fines now add up to $20,000.
January 6th Denialism
In the immediate aftermath of the January 6th insurrection, Amy Kremer issued a statement condemning the violence, calling what happened when hundreds of people invaded the Capitol “the misdeed of a handful of people.”
However, since those initial statements, leaders of WFAF have turned to advancing claims that the insurrection was an inside job orchestrated by federal agencies. On her personal Twitter, Amy Kremer has also tweeted that she advises against another march on Washington because “if we go back to DC, they’ll infiltrate us again. Don’t take the bait.”
In October 2021, Kremer also retweeted a piece in Revolver that alleges that someone named Ray Epps, supposedly a federal agent or someone backed by the federal government, is the real leader of the January 6th insurrection. Kremer has also heavily promoted Tucker Carlson’s new series on FOX about the January 6 insurrection, dubbed “Patriot Purge.” Carlson has claimed: “We’re gonna get to the bottom of what really happened on January 6th and uncover some propaganda about that day. We think we found the truth.” In her tweet about Carlson’s trailer, Kremer told her followers: “Time for watch parties & some TRUTH!”
The wild conspiracy theories promoted by WFAF and its speakers form part of right-wing ecosystem that is eroding public trust in our democracy by perpetuating discredited claims that the 2020 election was stolen, claims that are actively sowing doubt in our institutions ahead of the 2022 and 2024 elections.
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