Weeks before the murderous mob of insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol on January 6 to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory, a leader of the so-called Stop the Steal movement stood before a crowd of angry Donald Trump loyalists in California and called for the “execution” of those who had supposedly plotted against Trump. Afterward, he posted video of his demand for blood on YouTube.
On December 12, Trump supporters, ahead of the official counting of electoral votes, staged protests across the country, with the main demonstration in Washington leading to violence, as the Proud Boys rampaged through the district and clashed with Antifa activists. A smaller gathering occurred in Huntington Beach, California. One hundred or so Trump devotees, some waving Trump and “Fuck Biden” flags, assembled at the town’s picturesque pier. The man leading that protest was Alan Hostetter, a police-chief-turned-yoga-instructor who last year became a prominent opponent of COVID shutdowns in the Golden State.
Hostetter, who heads a group called the American Phoenix Project, praised the Trumpers, “as America from the ground-up fights back agains this communist takeover of our country.” Reading from a prepared text, he declared, “Both foreign and domestic enemies and traitors surround us. They are protected and enabled by a corrupt and evil…mainstream media. And this mainstream media joined forces with an even more corrupt group of tech tyrants in the Silicon Valley.”
As the demonstrators cheered, he said, “President Trump and his ground troops here with the patriots—we’re going to fix this….There must, absolutely must be a reckoning. There must be justice. President Trump must be inaugurated on January 20.”
Hotsetter had a very specific idea of justice: “The enemies and traitors of America, both foreign and domestic, must be held accountable. And they will. There must be long prison terms, while execution is the just punishment for the ringleaders of this coup.” A woman at the front of the crowd yelled, “Gitmo!” Standing next to Hotsetter, thoughout this violent rant, was former GOP congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who long represented the area before losing his seat in 2018. (When Rohrabacher spoke, he vowed that the assembled would not allow “communists to take control of our government” through election fraud.)
Weeks after urging the killing of Trump’s rivals, Hostetter was part of the Trump Resistance infrastructure that organized events in Washington leading up to the march that would turn into an insurrectionist raid on the Capitol. The American Phoenix Project joined forces with Virginia Women for Trump to hold a pre-march rally on January 5, obtaining the permit for the event and helping to finance it. (A video of the entire proceedings appeared later on Hotsetter’s Instagram page.) Held in front of the Supreme Court, directly behind the Capitol, the rally featured many of the stars of the Stop the Steal movement. Ali Alexander, who has dubbed himself the movement’s leader, told the crowd, “We are here to stop a coup that’s going on in our country.” He shouted, “This is our country, one way or another.” Then he led the audience in chanting, “1776! 1776! 1776!” Alexander concluded by a giving “a few shout-outs” to his “friend” Alex Jones, the notorious conspiracy theory-monger.
Next, a red-faced, bellowing Jones assailed “globalists” who “brainwash and gaslight the public” and denounced “the satanists who run this system.” He called Joe Biden a “Chinese communist agent,” claimed billionaire Bill Gates was “enslaving” the world, and assailed the “COVID hoax.” Jones said that wearing a mask “is a sign of your slavery.” He exclaimed, “I want you to commit to total resistance.” Minutes later, Joe Flynn, the brother of ret. General Michael Flynn, assailed the “cowards” in the GOP. “Are we going to let them cower to these communists?” he asked. Roger Stone, the long-time Trump adviser whom Trump recently pardoned, decried the Democrats and media for mounting a “psy-op” against America to convince people Biden had won. That was “bullshit,” Stone said. He continued, “This is a fight for the future of Western civilization as we know it….It’s a fight between the godly and the godless.”
When it came Hostetter’s time to speak, an organizer for Virginia Women for Trump pointed out that the event could not have happened without his assistance. A fired-up Hostetter contended that Trump had won the election with 100 million votes. (Trump received 74 million.) Pushing a conspiracy theory, he said Trump had been cheated out of millions of votes by the Dominion ballot-counting system. He lambasted the “vipers” in the Capitol: “They’re going to hear our voice tomorrow…We are at war in this country. We are at war tomorrow.” He called for putting “the fear of God in the cowards and the traitors, the RINOS, the communists of the Democratic Party. They need to know we as a people, a hundred million strong, are coming for them, if they do the wrong thing….I will see you all tomorrow at the front lines.”
The next day, as the Washington Post reported, Hostetter was part of the mob that attacked the Capitol. His Instagram included a photo of him on top of the Capitol with the caption: “This was the ‘shot heard ’round the world’…The 2021 version of 1776. That war lasted eight years. We are just getting warmed up.” (That photo and caption no longer appear in Hostetter’s Instagram feed.)
On January 24, Hofstetter posted a video on his Instagram that claimed “stealing the most powerful republic in the world” was “easy” for the Democrats, the media, and technology companies. The caption read, “Find me in free America. Stay in the fight! Patriots will prevail!”
But after the lethal and seditious attack on Congress, does he still advocate the “execution” of those who thwarted Trump? Hostetter did not reply to multiple requests for comment.