The anti-government activist Ammon Bundy and a crew of Idahoans angry at the state government’s anti-coronavirus orders are fighting back — with an Easter service, followed by a potluck.
For weeks, Bundy, who’s best known for leading the 41-day armed occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon, has been holding crowded meetings meant to defy Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s (R) recent order against large gatherings.
The latest, on Thursday night, included upwards of 70 people crammed into a room no larger than a basketball court. Speakers performatively coughed and wheezed, shared a microphone and, at one point, recommended that those with flu symptoms drink tonic water. (Quinine has not been proven effective against the disease at all.)
Toward the end of Thursday’s meeting, a former state senate candidate and marketing consultant in Bundy’s crew announced the latest effort to “further snub our noses in the faces of all these morons who are telling us what we can and cannot do”: An Easter service, followed by a potluck.
“Bring your own food, bring your own chair,” said Diego Rodriguez, who also previewed an attack ad against Little and asked for donations to get the ad on Rush Limbaugh’s show.
“Your dollar will go further right now than it can ever go in the history of time!” Rodriguez exclaimed at one point on Thursday.
Rodriguez said he’d be delivering the “very short” sermon Sunday.
“I don’t care if you’re Christian, Catholic, Mormon, atheist, Libertarian, hare-brained conspiracy theorist,” he said — all are welcome.
“Our goal is to get enough people together and secure our rights,” Bundy told CNN, describing the service. “We are not trying to provoke, we want people to be able to worship.”
Bundy, who lives in the small town of Emmett, Idaho, said he’d received the contact information of hundreds of people who were willing to — physically, if necessary — stand up for those committed to violating the state’s “stay-at-home” orders, which Little announced late last month.
After the meeting Thursday, Bundy plugged the website Rodriguez had announced earlier: BradLittleIsADisgrace.com. Bundy also suggested at the meeting that he might try to put together a class action lawsuit related to the stay-at-home order, though wasn’t clear whether there were any serious plans to pursue it.
“Whatever the recourse is, I don’t know,” he said. “But it is going to be a very stout effort.”
Correction: This article previously referred incorrectly to the occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon that Bundy led. The refuge was occupied for 41 days, not 10.