Secret Service Descends on Home of Activist Javier Benavidez

In a clear effort to intimidate those encouraging civil disobedience at today’s Trump rally, the Secret Service came to Javi’s home yesterday and what ensued should cause all to be alarmed.

Updated Actions & Opportunities. We have updated our Actions & Events page to include events tomorrow in Taos and a rally focused on LANL’s planned expansion of nuclear development, a scary thought. The page now also includes information on a powerful film on Gaza screening Saturday night at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Click here for details.

The Secret Service Was Cordial and Not Overtly Threatening, But…

I did not post this information this morning as I wanted to make sure Javi was safe and that he wanted the information shared. Even though I couldn’t share this information until getting clearance from Javi, his email last night did inform my recommendation to stay clear of the Trump rally venue in Rio Rancho tonight. Read on to find out why.

On Saturday, the Secret Service descended upon the home of activist and close ally, Javier Benavidez. Javi was out at the time and his wife alerted him. Thinking quickly, Javi started streaming live from his car as he described what was transpiring and he continued streaming throughout the inquiry by the Secret Service. In the end, no arrest was made, the Secret Service was polite and respectful, but an unmistakable message was conveyed quite clearly: we pay attention to your posts on FB, we know where you live, and we don’t want trouble.

Throughout the livestreamed interview, Javi showed remarkable poise and civility. He showed a great deal of respect for the Secret Service and their role in trying to ensure public safety. In the end, the Secret Service departed without incident.

We posted the stream to our Retake Facebook page. But Javi has since removed that livestream and his entire FB page due to a non-strop stream of threats to himself and his family from Trump supporters. He and his family have also had to leave their home, for fear of these threats and so, they are currently in a hotel.

Roxanne and I watched the livestream and the thread of vicious and overtly threatening language employed by MAGA supporters was absolutely revolting. It was also unending.

Javi wrote to me last night asking if I knew anyone experienced with FB livestream, as ever the activist and even in the face of threats he wants to preserve some of the information he shared in the video and possibly re-post it. If you know how to edit streamed FB video, please let me know:

This incident informed my view on today’s Trump event. There is a segment of the MAGA movement that are steeped in white supremacy and know no bounds. While it is important not to yield to these individuals, it is also simply unwise to provoke or challenge them, especially at a venue with but one exit to the parking lot.

It is also important not to conflate every Trump supporter with those who are wedded to violence and nationalist principles. The vast majority of Trump supporters are working class farmers, working class families, and deeply religious, but conservative individuals. These people have been largely abandoned by both parties, and for decades it has been a betrayal shared by communities of color and indigenous populations.

Both parties have made their bed with the elite of this world at the expense of common people. It is our job not to revile the majority of Trump supporters, but to seek ways to convey to them that Trump and the GOP is a false messiah, no more concerned with their well-being than most all of the US leadership that has been in place since FDR. These people’s challenges are legitimate: they are losing their farms and/or their jobs. Their income has eroded, their healthcare disappeared and their communities are suffering.

I am not sure what magical combination of facts, personal stories, and policy alternatives can unify all those in America who are being betrayed by our leadership, GOP and Democrat. But it would behoove us to do our best to find it before November 2020. And for today, I encourage you to protest the Trump appearance from a safe distance. Click here for information about the protest in ABQ and the other events and actions, referenced above. Be safe.

In solidarity, Paul & Roxanne

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6 replies

  1. The majority of Trump supporters are deeply delusional and not necessarily religious in any way.

    • Briefly looked in on the livestream of Trump’s Santa Ana speech and am appalled at the number of posts invoking Trump as the god-given savior of America. For so-called Christians to praise this atheist, they must be, as you say, deeply, deeply delusional. Definitely not religious in any way that I’ve heard of since the Spanish Inquisition.

  2. I wouldn’t be too concerned about the Secret Service, unless someone is an actual threat to the President. I used to work for the US Secret Service (although this was before the Patriot Act). They stay out of the political parties and really focus on if someone is could harm, insight harm or carry out an assassination attempt on the President or whatever detail they are on. In my experience, they are professional, thorough and simply stick to their job of assessing risk to the President, whomever he (or she) may be. It is super hard to become a Secret Service agent, and they are vetted thoroughly for many things including temperament (and good eyesight!).

  3. Solidarity with Javi! My father had a little adventure with the Secret Service during the Clinton years. I got a message on my phone from them asking me to call them. They wanted to know if he had a sense of humor. I told them, “You didn’t call me to vouch for his sense of humor. You want to know how far does the nut fall from the tree.” Felicia is correct, I think. I’d be interested to hear from people who went inside yesterday. For reasons I won’t discuss here, I did not have that option yesterday, so I did other things to support the opposition to this visit. I agree it was not safe there and am glad there were no reports of trouble. There were plenty of guns out there. We were severely outnumbered and isolated at that venue. The exit from there was heavily controlled, and the traffic was at a standstill going out, by design. I listened to the police scanners. It was an education.

  4. This really should get someone’s attention. Things are not normal, and certain organizations, are being used for suppression, and intimidation. Of course none of it was identified locally, long before this.

  5. Thanks, Paul, for your moving AND level-headed description of these events.

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