The leadership at an Air Force base in North Dakota sent a text message to service members to warn them of the dangers of being near a downtown rally that featured a speaker from a pro-Trump organization.
“Leaders, please exercise caution if downtown this weekend,” reads the text message that was sent to Minot Air Force Base personnel, adding that anyone who was thinking about going downtown should “be careful” and “reach out for any concerns.”
At issue was a planned Nov. 17 event dubbed the “Dakota Patriot Rally” at the state fairgrounds in Minot, and the text warned personnel “to be cautious” if they were in the area, especially because some rally-goers “could be confrontational to military members.” The text, which was shared with the popular “Air Force amen/nco/snco” Facebook page, also noted that the event would feature a guest speaker from Turning Point Action, which the warning noted is an “alt-right” organization.
Turning Point Action, a 501(c)(4) organization founded in 2019, typically promotes conservative values and has a history of support for former President Donald Trump.
Though the group has attracted controversy for questioning the results of the 2020 presidential election and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, it has become a mainstay in conservative political circles. According to a report from the New York Times, the group’s July 2023 ACTCON conference in Florida drew about 6,000 attendees and included speaking engagements by Trump and about a third of Republican presidential candidates who were declared at the time.
The Dakota Patriot Rally speaker about whom the text warned was Turning Point Action Chief Operating Officer Tyler Bowyer, according to the event website, which noted Bowyer is a “conservative activist” who worked in several political positions before joining Turning Point USA.
The text message to members at Minot Air Force Base warned “that participation with groups such as Turning Point Action could jeopardize their continued service in the U.S. military.”
Reached for comment by Fox News Digital, a spokesperson for Turning Point Action noted that the event was not recognized officially by the organization but called the text from leaders “absolutely apalling.”
“Tyler Bowyer was simply a keynote speaker. Secondly, Turning Point Action is not alt-right, it’s a mainstream conservative organization and Tyler Bowyer is not some fringe personality—he’s the COO of TPAction, an RNC committeeman from the state of Arizona, and one of the most accomplished political organizers in the country,” the spokesperson said. “Lastly, Mr. Bowyer and attendees of this event are not ‘confrontational to military members,’ they’re some of the US Military’s most ardent supporters.”
The spokesperson also took issue with the idea that participation with the organization could jeopardize a service member’s career, calling the warning “shocking and totally unacceptable.”
“How dare they dissuade servicemen and women from affiliating with conservative groups and leaders,” the spokesperson said. “This should set off alarm bells throughout North Dakota and DC, that something is terribly wrong at the Minot Air Force base. This also warrants an immediate congressional hearing and investigation, and whoever is responsible should be held accountable. It’s exactly this type of poison that has caused the Air Force to miss its recruiting goal for the first time in decades.”
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