Jim Sinclair, a 38-year-old home restoration contractor from Bensalem, traveled to Washington to support President Donald Trump and, perhaps, help foment a revolution.
“Freedom!!!!!!!” Sinclair posted on Facebook on Wednesday (photo of Mel Gibson from Braveheart included) after the mob had breached the Capitol building. “It’s 1776, the American people have ears and eyes. We will not accept this fraudulent election.”
Sinclair, who last month wrote that it was time to spill the “blood of tyrants,” ultimately failed to overthrow the republic. But he did drink two cranberry vodkas and get arrested after the riot for violating curfew and carrying a set of illegal brass knuckles, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. Court records noted that he “became emotional” after he was approached by officers.
Sinclair was among the more than 50 people arrested by Capitol Police or D.C. authorities in Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump supporters egged on by the president’s rhetoric. Thirteen of them hailed from Pennsylvania and one from South Jersey. Most, like Sinclair, were cited with violating the 6 p.m. curfew imposed by Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Some, like Leonard Guthrie, 48, of Cape May, N.J., were arrested for illegally entering the Capitol grounds.
Capitol Police say Guthrie was arrested for unlawful entry, although details of his alleged offense weren’t released Thursday. A man who came to the doorway of his home in a mostly rural section of Lower Township waved a reporter off and said, “Please get off my property.” A heavily damaged car was parked in the driveway.
In a phone interview, Guthrie’s father, Leonard Guthrie Sr., said his son was the chaplain of a group of churchgoing patriots who met in D.C. “to support President Trump and the whole movement,” and never entered the Capitol building. He said his son was behind the Capitol in a crowd and got pushed “into the line where he wasn’t supposed to cross.”
He said his son had no intention of being caught up in an insurrection.
”No, no, no,” said Guthrie Sr., a taxidermist. “My son is not like that. No way he would storm the Capitol. It didn’t happen that way. He’s not that kind of guy. He’s praying to the Lord. He went down there not for the reason he’s charged but for his belief in God and country.”
Terry Brown, a retired code enforcement officer and Trump supporter from Lebanon County, was one of the few charged with illegally entering the Capitol building.
”Well, the doors were open,” Brown, 69, told WHYY’s Keystone Crossroads after being released Thursday, adding that Capitol Police didn’t make any attempt to stop him.
“I came to the conclusion that we needed to be heard, and nobody was listening,” he said. “So if this is what it took … to make the people stand up and listen, then to me it was worth it.”
Brown faces unlawful entry charges punishable by a sentence of up to six months and a fine of $1,000 if convicted.
Phone numbers for Sinclair were not working Thursday. But his Facebook page — a unique blend of conspiracy theories, revolutionary bravado, and a deep appreciation for the singer Meat Loaf — reflect the more extreme political views that have become commonplace among Trump supporters, stoked by the president’s lies about the 2020 election.
On Wednesday, Sinclair wrote on Facebook: “In Pennsylvania there are 200k more votes than Registered voters. Why is that!?”
That is a variant of a false statement Trump repeated most recently at Wednesday’s rally, based on a flawed analysis by Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania. It relied on incomplete data.