A Donald Trump delegate from Tennessee who has ties to the anti-government Patriot movement has said that while he’s backed the people rising up to take back their government from tyranny, he believes some U.S. leaders need to be “eliminated.”
Mother Jones reported that David Riden, a retired engineer whom Tennessee voters chose to attend the Republican National Convention after the Trump campaign approved putting him on the ballot, attended the Continental Congress of 2009. The Continental Congress was a gathering of activists who advocated abolishing all gun laws, employing citizen militias to patrol the borders and mounting an insurrection if necessary.
Riden told the magazine that he explicitly disclosed his views to the Trump campaign during the delegate selection process. The Trump campaign did not respond to Mother Jones’ request for comment.
Now, Riden says he believes in a harsher punishment for leaders who violate the Constitution.
“The Constitution should remain, but the people that are abusing it should be, the polite word is, ‘eliminated,’” he told Mother Jones. “The harsh word is ‘killed.’ And they’re killed by American citizens with weapons.”
Riden told the magazine he believes all three branches of government have strayed “way off” the country’s founding principles and the time for citizens to take up arms to remove those in power was nearing.
“If people have tanks, assault weapons, if they have bombs—they need to have the weaponry necessary to be able to overthrow the federal government,” he continued.
Riden is just the latest of Trump’s delegates whose fringe right-wing views have surfaced. The billionaire’s RNC delegation once included an avowed white supremacist attorney and an anti-Muslim pastor, who have since been pulled as delegates. Another delegate from Maryland was pulled after being indicted on weapons and child pornography charges in March.