As police worked to clear out insurgents who briefly seized much of the U.S. Capitol last week, Minot native Glen Mitchell “Mitch” Simon posed on the steps just outside beside a child wearing an eagle mask.

Simon posted the snapshot on his Facebook page, calling it a post-victory picture “after a running through of the capital building,” and noted, “Feel like I took about 50 bong rips of pepper spray today.”

Among the hashtags he used to call attention to his post were #congressranawayscared and “theythoughtwewouldent.”

For some online sleuths, the picture, which he later took down, and a livestream that Simon has since deleted, show that he is “a terrorist” who deserves to be arrested.

Simon, 29, has a different take on what happened in the nation’s capital on Jan. 6 and what people ought to be concerned with.

“I don’t care if they say I’m a terrorist,” Simon said Wednesday, but he insisted that most of the pro-Trump mob that surged into the Capitol meant no harm and committed no crimes.


He said by the time he waded through the crowd outside, the police were already clearing the Capitol. But “a haze of tear gas” still hung over the grounds as people began to disperse.

He said he never entered the building, though one Twitter user, @HomegrownTerrorists, appears to have seen at least some of Simon’s video before its deletion. He said Simon “drove from Maine to DC and livestreamed himself inside the capital building.”

Though he said Congress is full of “absolutely grimy, disgusting monsters,” Simon said he never got past the steps and never threatened anybody. He said his deleted video never showed anything inside the building. He only saw what happened outside.

Simon, who attended Poland Regional High School before moving to Georgia and establishing a successful tree removal business, said he’s had a busy year doing what he characterized as defending democracy and the police.

Simon would not say where he is now, but he said his marriage is on the rocks and his estranged wife is ruining his business back in Georgia.

His journey to Washington, D.C., he said, was merely the latest of a number of trips he’s made since last spring to stand watch with like-minded people he considers patriots.


It began, Simon said, with his disgust that “Democratic cities are just letting people riot and not doing anything about it,” allowing angry crowds to burn, loot and kill with little opposition. It’s a common claim in conservative circles, and one that those sympathetic to the Black Lives Matter movement would vehemently dispute.

“We would go all over the country” and “just provide support for the police,” Simon said, ready “to take physical action” if necessary to block rioters from hurting businesses or police officers.

Though organized online, Simon said, he always traveled alone to events, showing up to lend his support at demonstrations in Texas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia and beyond.

Simon said the police appreciated their presence because they helped with “a show of numbers” to make sure demonstrators recognized they could not simply overwhelm the officers standing guard against mayhem.

In the course of his travels, Simon said, he got kicked, hit with water balloons filled with urine, smacked in the face and more. But, he said, it was worth it to help preserve order.

The opposition took note of Simon’s presence.


A group called Atlanta Antifascists said on Twitter that Simon “played a prominent role in the August 15 far-right rally at Stone Mountain” in Georgia, a monument honoring Confederate leaders. It noted that he had also livestreamed his presence at a demonstration in Louisville, Kentucky.

Atlanta Antifascists called Minot native Mitch Simon a leader among the private militia personnel who gathered at rallies in Georgia and Kentucky last summer.

A number of protests in Louisville focused on the police killing of Breanna Taylor in a botched drug-related raid in March. At Stone Mountain, which features large rock carvings of Confederate leaders, right-wing groups who gathered on Aug. 15 to defend their heritage clashed with protesters who came to counter them.

The antifascists group in Atlanta said Simon is “highly invested in conspiracy theory views of the world” and at least implied he was a ringleader because he held a megaphone to address others at the Stone Mountain gathering.

Simon said he is not a leader, just a patriot.

Having seen a number of protests during 2020, Simon said, he was ready to answer President Donald Trump’s call to come to Washington last week.


He wasn’t prepared, however, for what he witnessed.

“That was crazy. I don’t know what the deal was,” Simon said.

Simon said he headed for the nation’s capital because he wanted to “show support for the president” and to be ready to counter the antifa demonstrators he thought would try to break up the pro-Trump rally.

“We thought there was going to be a huge antifa presence,” Simon said. But the counter-demonstrators didn’t make an appearance, he said.

Simon said that when he got there, he went to the packed grounds near the Washington Monument to listen to speeches by radio conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Trump and “a whole bunch of others.”

From his point of view, he said, “nothing was happening.”


After the speakers were done, he said, everybody marched the 1.5 miles to the Capitol.

When he got there, he said, there were demonstrators pressed up against small metal barriers with police behind them.

From somewhere on the police side of the line he could hear “deep, heavy, tribal music” pounding, something he found “pretty weird” and troubling.

“Music has a huge effect on people,” Simon said, and it may have contributed to the efforts by some to press on toward the Capitol.

“A few folks were getting rowdy,” Simon said, and then “one or two lady police officers got a little trigger happy and started shooting people with paintballs.”

Soon after, some at the front broke through the fence and “everybody propelled further” toward the building ahead of them. Some just kept going on, he said.


After taking an hour to wade through the crowd, Simon insisted he stayed on the steps, but could see people heading inside.

He said it was his impression that about 100 people broke through windows and doors to get in, but that the many others who followed were able to walk right in through doors the police opened for them.

“Most just walked by the cops,” Simon said.

He said that when the same people left the building, he watched families, women and children pouring out, not the sort of angry insurgents that politicians and press have tried to portray them as.

Simon said he did not see any sign of the antifa agitators he expected. He said a handful were probably among the crowd, but they weren’t responsible for much of what occurred. Everybody in sight was pro-Trump, he said.

But, he said, it looked to him that there were about 10 guys who “definitely stood out” in the mob because they were silent, disciplined and totally prepared with gas masks, bulletproof vests and other equipment.


“They knew exactly what was going to happen,” Simon said, and they were ready. He said he’s heard from some who witnessed them inside that they went straight for the most highly secure areas to ransack desks, grab computers and the like. He said he has no idea who they were.

Simon said he understands why people are upset that the Capitol was invaded.

But, he said, the media is exaggerating the level of violence. Compared to the Black Lives Matter rallies, he said, it looks “like Mickey Mouse stuff.”

Simon said he’s not shocked that the attack on the Capitol occurred.

“I’m surprised it wasn’t worse,” he said. “The people are sick and tired of seeing these vicious, bloodsucking” lawmakers carving up America and creating “mischief and mayhem.”

“There’s only so far that you can push people,” Simon said. “Something’s got to give.”


Some of the people he met that day were “absolutely desperate,” Simon said, blown away by lost jobs, failed marriages and general misery. They have nowhere to turn, he said, and nowhere to go.

“Some came on their last dime just to stand up for their president,” he said.

Despite the fallout from the event, including a growing number of arrests and a second impeachment for Trump for inciting the takeover, Simon said he would go to Washington again.

It is important, he said, for “patriots” to let their country know “here is a group of people who love America enough to show up.”

Besides, he said, the Capitol should never be closed.

“That is the people’s place. We own that place,” Simon said. “We’re barred from our own building.”

“They want to say we breached it, but, well, it’s ours.”

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story