Officials in charge of a U.S. Air Force base in North Dakota sparked controversy by allegedly sending a message to airmen warning them against attending a conservative rally that was held in the area on Nov. 17, claiming that supporters of former President Donald Trump are “confrontational” toward the military.
“Leaders, please exercise caution if downtown this weekend,” the message read, advising airmen to “be careful” and “reach out for any concerns” about going into Minot’s downtown area.
The pro-Trump rally that day, dubbed the “Dakota Patriot Rally” was held at the state fairgrounds in Minot. The text added that some Trump rallygoers “could be confrontational to military members” and airmen should “be cautious.”
The message was shared on the Air Force amen/nco/snco Facebook page in a post that labeled the conservative activist group Turning Point Action as an “alt-right” group, Fox News added. Turning Point Action is a non-profit that promotes common conservative principles.
The Facebook page warned that Turning Point Action Chief Operating Officer Tyler Bowyer is an “alt-right” speaker.
The message noted, “We just got word of an event going at the fairgrounds downtown, called Dakota Patriot Rally. Its guest speaker is from an alt-right organization called Turning Point Action. Please advise your folks that if they are going downtown this weekend, it’s good to be cautious, as the crowds this event may attract could be confrontational to military members.”
Aside from the odd claim that Trump supporters are “confrontational” to the military, the message also warned airmen that attending the event could “jeopardize” their military career.
“Additionally please remind them that participation with groups such as Turning Point Action could jeopardize their continued service in the U.S. military,” the foreboding message added.
In another part of the message, the officials tried to link a Nov. 17 shooting that occurred in Minot to the attendees of the Trump rally, saying, it is “unclear” if the shooting was “related” to the Dakota Patriot Rally.
However, the shooting occurred on the opposite side of town from where the rally was being held, not to mention the fact that the Minot Police Department told Fox News that “the shooting was not related to the Dakota Patriot Rally.”
Meanwhile, the messages sparked outrage from many Americans, and even came to the attention of GOP Rep. Cory Mills of Florida, who blasted the Air Force for possibly violating the constitution.
“Air Force base in North Dakota warns airmen not to attend rally featuring pro-Trump Tyler Bower or risk ‘jeopardizing’ military career,” Mills wrote on social media.
Our men & women of the Armed Forces fight for our freedoms only to be threatened/ denied by woke and leftist leadership,” he said, adding, “The command should start preparing for their Armed Services Committee hearings NOW!”
Air Force base in North Dakota warns airmen not to attend rally featuring pro-Trump Tyler Bower or risk ‘jeopardizing’ military career.
Our men & women of the Armed Forces fight for our freedoms only to be threatened/ denied by woke and leftist leadership.
The command should…
— Cory Mills (@CoryMillsFL) November 21, 2023
GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida was also incensed by the reports and warned that there will be “questions” raised over the incident.
Whoever thought sending this message out was a good idea is definitely gonna be answering questions under oath in the Armed Services Committee. @RepJimBanks @CoryMillsFL @RepMarkAlford https://t.co/lEHKjshVFd
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) November 21, 2023
Ohio GOP Sen. J.D. Vance placed the blame squarely on the “disgraceful” Joe Biden for “threatening veterans for attending rallies with TPUSA.”
Biden now threatening veterans for attending rallies with TPUSA. Notably if a veteran posts a viral video with a lefty group nothing happens.
Disgraceful. And drives home Senator Tuberville’s point that Biden is using the military for politics. https://t.co/EtXaRtnfDd
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) November 21, 2023
Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks was also alarmed and railed at Biden, saying, “The Biden DoD has declared war on its political enemies. I am demanding answers from the Air Force about this partisan weaponization of our military!”
“Participation with groups such as Turning Point Action could jeopardize their continued service in the US military.”
The Biden DoD has declared war on its political enemies.
I am demanding answers from the Air Force about this partisan weaponization of our military!!…
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) November 21, 2023
For his part, Turning Point Action’s Tyler Bowyer was shocked by the attack on him and his group, and noted on social media, “Leftist organizations encouraged looting, rioting and burning down cities — we’re just registering people to vote and to become Precinct Captains.”
Leftist organizations encouraged looting, rioting and burning down cities — we’re just registering people to vote and to become Precinct Captains https://t.co/3AUpqYQ1z9
— Tyler Bowyer (@tylerbowyer) November 21, 2023
The Western Journal received a statement from Air Force Capt. Christopher M. Thibeaux-Moore, the chief of public affairs at Minot Air Force Base — who listed his pronouns as “he/him/his” — essentially admitting that the message was real, but that it was not authorized or delivered via official base communications platforms.
“Minot Air Force Base is aware that an unofficial message about a local event in the City of Minot was sent in a text message group. The message was based on incorrect data and sent outside of official base messaging platforms. Once the error was identified, base security officials corrected the message traffic to categorize the event as a local political fundraiser, with no security concerns.
“Further, the updated message communicated there were no issues with military members participating in their personal capacity – in line with their First Amendment rights. All Air Force Airmen have a Constitutional right to freedom of assembly. That said there are some limitations placed on an Airman’s ability to participate in political events in an official capacity. These limitations are set by ethical guidelines in the Code of Federal Regulations in order to maintain the politically neutral stance of the US Military.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.