Charlie Kirk, the founder of the conservative student group Turning Point USA (TPUSA), deleted a tweet in which he claimed to be sending more than 80 buses filled with President Donald Trump’s supporters to Washington, D.C.
The deleted tweet, uncovered by the Daily Dot on Saturday, was posted just two days before Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“The historic event will likely be one of the largest and most consequential in American history,” Kirk wrote. “The team at @TrumpStudents & Turning Point Action are honored to help make this happen, sending 80+ buses full of patriots to DC to fight for this president.”
The tweet garnered attention online after the riot on Wednesday, which led to the death of four Trump supporters as well as one police officer, who was reportedly violently bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher.
Before the riot, Trump supporters attended a rally near the White House where the president called on the crowd to march to the Capitol as Congress was counting the Electoral College votes.
Kirk, as well as numerous other high-profile figures in Trump’s orbit, spent weeks prior to Wednesday spreading debunked claims of widespread voter fraud.
The conservative even played into conspiracy theories regarding the “Pence Card,” the false belief that Vice President Mike Pence could overturn the election, in statements on Monday.
“Despite what the media and certain weak intellectually-compromised Constitutional scholars are telling you, Mike Pence does not have to accept the results of polluted and poisoned electors. He does not,” Kirk said.
Countless Trump supporters, convinced that Pence had committed treason thanks to the rhetoric online, were heard openly calling for the vice president to be hanged during the riot.
The website for Turning Point Action (TPA), an offshoot organization of TPUSA, earlier in the week openly advertised the campaign, offering both bus rides and complimentary hotel rooms to those willing to come to D.C.
It remains unclear how many buses were ultimately used in the shuttle and whether any occupants joined in on the siege.
Speaking with the Daily Dot, Brian Caviness, a 23-year-old TPUSA member from Texas who took one such bus to hear the president speak, stated that the organization only intended to stay for the rally and not the ensuing march.
Caviness, who condemned the violence on his Facebook page, stated that he left on the bus just as the Capitol was being overtaken.
“All I can say is, I was just in the middle of a very dangerous situation I do not support…” he said.
In a statement to the Daily Dot, a TPA spokesperson likewise condemned the violence and asserted that its organization was in no way involved with the events at the Capitol.
“Turning Point Action (TPA) did bus some students to the January 6th rally, which included a speech from the President of the United States. Following the president’s remarks, and in keeping with itinerary, TPA bused those students immediately out of the area,” the spokesperson said. “No TPA buses were involved, nor did TPA encourage participation in the march to the Capitol. TPA’s leadership condemns political violence and immediately did so as soon as news broke of the incident at the Capitol Building.”
Trump supporters, some of whom are still calling for violence, are already planning to return to the Capitol to disrupt the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20.
At current, TPA does not appear to be backing or offering rides to the Inauguration Day protest.
Kirk has since tried to distance himself from the uprising at the Capitol by condemning those who participated on Twitter.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Turning Point USA (TPUSA) instead of Turning Point Action (TPA).