Finally, after a prayer from a pastor linked to the Church Militant, a far-right religious website, the convoy rolled out an hour later than scheduled and headed down I-95. It was spearheaded by a bus covered in MAGA slogans.
Almost immediately, one of the vehicles in the convoy got lost, according to messages posted in the Zello walkie-talkie app that the group is using to communicate while on the road. Later, when the convoy linked up to discuss evening plans, the meeting quickly descended into an argument about where they were going to be staying. Even trying to meet up at a gas station was difficult: Due to the size of a Buc-ee’s in South Carolina, convoy members couldn’t locate each other.
A few hours into the trip, the lead bus pulled over onto the highway shoulder and kicked out one of the people onboard, who had traveled on his own from Washington, DC. It was unclear exactly why he was ejected, but the man, who is part of a group that protests daily in support of people jailed for rioting at the Capitol on January 6, was left stranded in Florence, South Carolina, without his wallet, according to details discussed on a livestream of someone in contact with the man.
Throughout the day, the half-dozen people livestreaming the convoy spent much of their time responding to questions from some of the thousands of people watching.
Most of the questions were about the conspiracy that the convoy is a “setup” by the federal government to “entrap patriots.” That sense of paranoia has been present in the group from the very beginning, according to leaks of the group’s chats on Discord: “This will end up loaded with trolls and feds in no time,” one member wrote a week ago.
Paranoia was also prevalent on the Telegram channels used to coordinate the convoy in different parts of the country. “I hope it’s not another J6 trap. People need to pray for discernment about this. But after 3 years of this people are sick of it,” one member wrote, referring to the widely debunked conspiracy that the Capitol insurrection was a left-wing plan to trap Trump supporters.
On Monday, after the cars had started on the road, organizers issued a press release, claiming “groups are forming to infiltrate the convoy.” The statement also claims that “nowhere on the website does it say anything about the convoy going to the border,” which is inaccurate, as the route for the main convoy clearly states the final destination is Eagle Pass.
Additionally, one of the organizers of the convoy, Pete Chambers, told Alex Jones last week that his plan included traveling to the border to hunt migrants and work with local law enforcement to capture them. Among those traveling with the convoy, multiple people on Monday mentioned going to Eagle Pass. “We’re all going to the border,” one member declared on the livestream on Monday night.