Fact Check

Does Video Show 'MAGA-affiliated Neo-Nazi Militia' Gathering to Support Trump?

A tweet made the claim on the same day that the former president was arraigned in a Miami courtroom and pleaded not guilty to federal charges.

Published June 14, 2023

Updated June 22, 2023
 (Twitter)
Image Via Twitter
Claim:
People depicted in a video that circulated in mid-June 2023 were neo-Nazi militia members who were gathering to support former U.S. President Donald Trump.

On June 13, 2023, the Twitter account Terror Alarm (@Terror_Alarm) posted a video that showed at least hundreds of people, most whom appeared to be men, gathering in a large, white room and reciting the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. The caption of the tweet read, "??? Alert? Thousands of MAGA-affiliated Neo-Nazi militia gather to support Trump, vowing to 'do whatever is necessary to uphold the Constitution.'"

The tweet had more than 46,000 views, as of this writing. On the day of its posting, former U.S. President Donald Trump was arraigned at a federal courthouse in Miami on federal charges stemming from the alleged mishandling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. He pleaded not guilty.

The reality of this video was that it showed attendees of the 2023 national convention for the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association in Colorado. In the video, they were reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. There was no further information on the role of politics at the event, or their individual political beliefs.

According to the tweet's geotag (i.e., the location listed by its time and date), it may have been posted in Israel. The Terror Alarm account's bio described itself as a "non-state-affiliated agenda-free news media with a focus on combating terrorism through AI." The profile linked to an "About Us" page that read (emphasis ours):

Terror Alarm both as a team and enterprise is a highly accredited private security firm that not only alerted authorities about terrorist attacks as they happened, but also helped thwart many acts of terror at the height of the 2014-2017 ISIS attacks in Europe.

We have no 'agenda' except to prevent acts of terror. Most of the tweets on our @Terror_Alarm Twitter feed are AI-generated and as such, they are technically mostly agenda-free tweets. Any individual who finds this hard to discern is always free to unfollow our social media account.

In other words, the tweet was likely a product of artificial intelligence software attaching the erroneous caption to the authentic footage. We reached out to the user(s) who created the Twitter account for a response to the error, and we will update this report when, or if, we hear back. 

The truth was, the video was captured days before the tweet was posted, during the national convention between June 6 and June 11 at the Colorado Springs Event Center. In the clip, nearly everyone in the crowd donned jackets with the phrase, "Combat Vets Association," on their backs.

The video may have been shot on June 10 during the organization's national meeting, according to our review of the convention's agenda.

On a Facebook page for the Colorado Springs Event Center, we found pictures showing the same large room when it was used for a car show in July 2021.

According to what we could gather, the video may have originally been posted to TikTok by user @chaplainotto.

That TikTok account linked to a page promoting Chaplain Otto Ministries. We emailed the organization and received a response from a man named John Guthmann.

"I am a combat veteran who proudly served with the 2-27 Wolfhounds and love being a part of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association," Guthmann told us.

"My goal and mission in life now is to help people reach their full potential [both] in and out of the military. I run a nonprofit organization that does just that, in and out of prison – Chaplain Otto Ministries."

Guthmann did not comment specifically about the misuse of the video, other than to pass along his thanks for our effort of exposing the misleading content.

Sources

"Agenda." CVMA Nationals 2023, https://www.cvmanationals2023.org/more-info.

"Chaplain Otto Ministries." Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100091352799750.

@chaplainotto. TikTok, June 2023, https://www.tiktok.com/@chaplainotto/video/7243657214316023086.

"Colorado Springs Event Center." Facebook, 11 July 2021, https://www.facebook.com/ColoradoSpringsEventCenter/.

Liles, Jordan. "Yes, Trump Said 'No One Will Be Above the Law' Regarding Protection of Classified Information." Snopes, 9 June 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-classified-above-law/.

O'Kane, Caitlin. "Why Trump Didn't Get a Mugshot — and Wasn't Even Technically Arrested — at His Arraignment." CBS News, 13 June 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-arraignment-wasnt-arrested-no-mugshot/.

Updates

June 22, 2023: This reporting was updated to add thoughts from John Guthmann of Chaplain Otto Ministries.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.