What if the presidential campaign of a Republican Party nominee for the presidency of the United States, a candidate who hoped to lead the U.S. federal government, had cultivated close ties to an anti-government organization with the apparent goal of overthrowing the federal government and whose leader has been likened, by a sitting U.S. Senator, to a domestic terrorist ?
That organization, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) is quite real, and its anti-federal intent is well documented (see 1,2,3). Further, the ties between the Trump for President campaign and CSPOA’s leaders are extensive. This story documents that case.
In April 2014, U.S. Senator Harry Reid called the armed supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy “domestic terrorists”. One of the pro-Bundy leaders during the tense armed standoff between federal agents and armed militia supporters of Bundy was CSPOA cofounder and head Richard Mack, who after the standoff was resolved peacefully made the disturbing disclosure to Fox News that during the standoff,
“We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front. If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.”
Such graphic footage showing women being mowed down by federal bullets would likely have set the militia movement ablaze. In one Texas county, according to a story in the Texas Observer, one of CSPOA’s county sheriffs issued an alert to a local militia group to be ready to mobilize in support of the Bundy cause should the standoff become a shooting war.
Former County Sheriff Richard Mack has declared that his CSPOA will be “the army to set our nation free” and warned that “The greatest threat we face today is not terrorists; it is our own federal government”.
The first major public contact between the Trump for President effort and the leadership of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) appears to have come in early March 2016 when Donald Trump, Jr. made a widely noted March 1st guest appearance on the far-right nationally syndicated Liberty Roundtable radio show.
At that time, both Liberty Roundtable show host Sam Bushman and his co-host Curt Crosby were listed as serving on the CSPOA Executive Leadership team. In addition, the Liberty Roundtable website was serving as a conduit for official CSPOA press releases.
Ties between the CSPOA and the Trump campaign continued to develop leading up to the 2016 Republican National Convention in July. The convention featured two speakers prominent in the CSPOA, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and CSPOA member Milwaukee sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr., who went on to serve as a recognized Trump campaign surrogate at Trump rallies.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio is, along with former sheriff Richard Mack, one of the two cofounders of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. The two men launched the CSPOA in 2011.
Milwaukee sheriff David Clarke was the CSPOA’s official 2013 “Constitutional Sheriff of the Year”.
The relationship did not end there. Indeed, it seemed to deepen as the November 2016 election drew closer, as indicated by the extraordinary pattern of Trump campaign operative patronage of the Liberty Roundtable show.
Starting on September 2nd, a startling number of current and former Trump campaign operatives, campaign surrogates, and prominent endorsers, at least fourteen including Eric Trump, Trump for President National Co-Chair Sam Clovis, former CIA Director James Woolsey, dirty tricks political operative Roger Stone, and Milwaukee Sheriff David A. Clarke, have appeared as featured guests on the nationally syndicated, far-right Liberty Roundtable radio show interviewed by host Sam Bushman.
Here is a list of current and former Trump surrogates to have appeared on the Liberty Roundtable so far in 2016 :
March 1st, Donald Trump, Jr. (link)
July 20th, Trump Veterans co-chair and NH State Representative Al Badasaro, live from 2016 Republican National Convention (link)
September 2nd, Trump campaign trade adviser Curtis Ellis (link)
September 16th, Trump campaign adviser Lee Spieckerman (link)
September 19th, Trump For President National Co-Chair and Senior Policy Adviser Sam Clovis (link)
September 23rd, Trump campaign adviser, NH State Representative Al Baldasaro (link)
September 26th, Trump Hispanic Council Member/Advisor Steve Cortes (link)
September 28th, Trump economy adviser Stephen Moore (link)
October 3rd, former Trump campaign adviser and Trump PAC head Roger Stone (link)
October 4th, Trump national security campaign adviser former CIA head James Woolsey (link)
October 6th, Eric Trump (link)
October 20th, Roger Stone (link)
October 31st, Trump spokeswoman Scottie Nell Hughes (link)
Widespread media notice of the Liberty Roundtable show in relation to the Trump for President effort first came with the March 1st, 2016 appearance on the show of Donald Trump, Jr., but mainly because of the presence of the show segments’ guest co-host, James Edwards, who asked Trump, Jr. several direct questions.
Overlooked was Liberty Roundtable host Sam Bushman — whose Liberty News Radio network carries the Liberty Roundtable show and also Edwards’ Political Cesspool talk radio show, which frequently features, as guests, white nationalists and white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers, and secessionist neo-Confederates.
But up until late June 2016, Sam Bushman served as the official Vice President of Operations for the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.
Up into February 2016, Bushman was officially listed as CSPOA “VP Of Operations” on the CSPOA website page identifying the “CSPOA Executive Leadership” team. In addition, Sam Bushman’s regular Liberty Roundtable talk show host Curt Crosby was listed as a “technical support” member on the CSPOA Executive Leadership team.
Bushman can be seen introduced as the CSPOA Vice President of Operations in this footage, from the CSPOA’s September 17, 2014 “Lighting the Lamp of Liberty” event held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
A June 26, 2016 statement posted on the “Restore The Republic” radio show website of CSPOA member Kevin Blake, identified as coming from Sam Bushman, states,
“Please let this memo serve as my official public resignation from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), effective immediately.”
However, following that resignation, the website for Bushman’s Liberty Roundtable show has continued to serve as a conduit for at least quasi-official CSPOA press releases. In a July 2, 2017 “Official Public Update from the CSPOA” posted on the Liberty Roundtable site, Sam Bushman stated,
“Please let this memo serve as an official, public update effective immediately. The CSPOA has just announced that Richard Mack alone has retained complete and absolute control of his organization. In light of recent positive developments, I have reconsidered and will remain involved with the CSPOA as a member in good standing, ready to serve in any volunteer capacity asked of me. I look forward to my continued service participating in the incredible work accomplished by the CSPOA over the years.”
As another indication of the close, even symbiotic relationship between the CSPOA and the Liberty Roundtable is that, according to the website of Sam Bushman’s Liberty News Radio network, his network is planning to host the KrisAnne Hall show. Hall currently conducts trainings on behalf of the CSPOA.