And yet Rhodes also unwittingly revealed deepening fissures in the far-right movement that, two years ago, resorted to violence to keep Donald Trump in the White House. The defendant used some of his time to distance himself from the Proud Boys, another extremist organization, with whom he had met in the days before the insurrection. “Unlike other groups like the Proud Boys, who seek conflict and seek to street-fight,” Rhodes explained, “we deter.” I’ve been misunderstood, he was telling the court; the Proud Boys are the ones you want.
Rhodes, it seems, is not entirely in sync with his radical brethren. A unified extremist front is a threat to our democracy—but the story is different when extremists start pointing fingers at one another in the criminal-justice system.