Air Force Under Fire for Allegedly Restricting Airmen from Pro-Trump Rally

MINOT, ND – Officials at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota have caused controversy by allegedly cautioning airmen against attending a conservative rally. The message claimed that former President Donald Trump supporters are “confrontational” towards the military. The rally, known as the “Dakota Patriot Rally,” took place on November 17 at the state fairgrounds in Minot. The message warned airmen to exercise caution if venturing downtown and labeled the organizer, Turning Point Action, as an “alt-right” group. Concerns were also raised that attending the event could jeopardize airmen’s military careers.

According to a statement from Air Force Capt. Christopher M. Thibeaux-Moore, the message was unofficial and not delivered through official base communications platforms. Thibeaux-Moore clarified that the event was erroneously classified as having security concerns and updated the message to reflect that participating in a personal capacity was permitted.

The incident has drawn strong reactions from both the public and politicians. GOP Representatives Cory Mills and Matt Gaetz, along with Senator J.D. Vance, criticized the Air Force for potentially violating the Constitution and expressed their intention to seek answers through hearings by the Armed Services Committee. Representative Jim Banks, in particular, accused the Biden administration of partisan weaponization of the military.

Tyler Bowyer, Chief Operating Officer of Turning Point Action, responded to the attack on his organization and stated that they simply focus on registering people to vote and participate as precinct captains, contrasting their actions with the looting and rioting encouraged by leftist organizations.

The Minot Police Department clarified that a shooting incident on November 17, which some officials tried to link to the rally attendees, was not related to the Dakota Patriot Rally. The Air Force had issued an unofficial message describing the shooting incident as a possible cause for concern.

It remains to be seen if Congress will investigate the incident. Still, the controversy has raised questions about the limits of military personnel’s freedom to participate in political events and the potential politicization of the armed forces.