Operation American Spring, billed as a Friday morning multi-million patriot march on Washington, D.C., to oust leadership from the nation’s capital — from President Obama to House Speaker John Boeher — has proven woefully below expectations.
“It’s a very dismal turnout,” said Jackie Milton, 61, a Jacksboro, Texas, resident and the head of Texans for Operation American Spring, to The Washington Times. He said hopes were high when he arrived in Alexandria, Va., a day or so ago and found motels and hotels were sold out for 30 miles around.
But weather’s dampened turnout a bit, he said.
“We were getting over two inches of rain in hour in parts of Virginia this morning,” Mr. Milton said. “Now it’s a nice sunny day. But this is a very poor turnout. It ain’t no millions. And it ain’t looking like there’s going to be millions. Hundreds is more like it.”
Operation American Spring was billed as far back as six months ago as a rally call for patriotic Americans to force leaders in Washington, D.C., to return to a more limited and constitutional style of governance — and to oust those leaders who weren’t listening. Among the group’s targets: Mr. Obama and Mr. Boehner, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, vice president Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Initial projections were for between 10 million and 30 million to come from around the nation and converge on the downtown capital city streets outside the White House and Capitol Building — a number the organizer of the event, Army Col. Harry Riley, called optimistic yet doable, given one million militia had already agreed to come.
Mr. Riley’s reasons for the event, as stated in previously published accounts: “We are calling for [their] removal … as a start toward constitutional restoration. They have all abandoned the U.S. Constitution, are unworthy to be retained in a position that calls for servant status.”
On Friday, the mission may have been the same — but the body count hardly as expected or wished.
“This is very disappointing,” Mr. Milton said, speaking of the numbers who showed so far, while marching to the White House. “I’ve been taking to everybody for six months, telling them to come and telling them if it’s not realistic to get to D.C., … well then, go to your county courthouse [and protest].”
The weather likely delayed some from showing, he said. But as the sun comes out, and the weekend weather dawns balmy, more could show, he said.
“This isn’t just the one day thing,” Mr. Milton said. “Most of our group [126 from Texas] are going to stay most of the weekend. And when the bikers come in, there will much more. I know Connecticut’s here. I know Colorado’s here. I think Utah, maybe.”
He also said the some of the planned Operation American Spring members who were planning to head to Washington, D.C., instead traveled to Nevada, to give support to cattle rancher Cliven Bundy in his fight against the federal government over grazing fees.
“A lot that were supposed to come here went there instead,” Mr. Milton said.
He said his group from Texas was set up a few miles outside the capital city, in tents and mobile vehicles at a private property on Route 1.