Benning denounces ‘fascist iconography,’ claims Thayer involved in “insurrection”

Lt. Gov. Candidate Joe Benning

by Alex McCracken

Sen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia) wishes to go on the record today to condemn certain positions of his primary opponent. Specifically, for his involvement in the insurrection of January 6th, 2021, as well as his recent complicity with fascist iconography displayed at the July 4th celebration in Colchester.

During a recent interview with several news outlets, Mr. Thayer again defended his decision to participate in the Jan. 6th insurrection, going as far as stating that it was “just a lot of fun” for him personally. This attack on the US Capitol led to the deaths of nine individuals; four members of the crowd during the course of the insurrection, and five law enforcement officers in the ensuing days and weeks, four of whom tragically took their own lives.

More recently, VTDigger reported that Mark Coester (candidate for multiple seats) attended the Colchester 4th of July parade proudly sporting multiple symbols of fascism and white nationalism. Included in that same display were promotional materials for the Thayer campaign. Thayer, who also marched in the same parade, has refused to condemn this anti-democratic iconography used alongside his image.

Sen. Benning finds this pattern extremely troubling. There is no place for this kind of behavior in American democracy. This is not who we are; as Americans, as Vermonters, or as Republicans. Images and symbols that promote fascist ideology are entirely antithetical to what it means to be a part of a constitutional republic, and it is deeply concerning behavior from any candidate for office. On a day meant to celebrate our shared history as Americans, and our independence from an authoritarian regime, this serves only to divide and alienate huge swaths of the public. It is a disservice to the United States, and to the great State of Vermont.

Sen. Benning has prepared a statement in light of recent events. Please see his full comment below:

“My opponent claims he was fighting for the constitution when he went to Washington D.C. on January 6th in order to “stop the steal.” Even President Trump’s closest advisors, and daughter Ivanka, now concede there was nothing ever “stolen.” Furthermore, there is no constitutional provision that Mr. Thayer can cite justifying the ability of a sitting Vice President to pick and choose what electoral votes he or she can count. In fact, if he’d thought about it, I’m sure he’d agree that Kamala Harris would have no right to single handedly nullify the vote of the people in 2024.

Mr. Thayer’s continued insistence that January 6th was “just a lot of fun” is an abhorrent insult to those men and women in blue who suffered and died that day, performing their sworn duty to protect the very constitutional system that has made this the greatest country in the world. These comments have not occurred in a vacuum. In June, Mr. Thayer appeared at a press conference with several candidates who claimed, entirely without evidence, that the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York were “false flag” operations designed by the United States government. Additionally, as of this morning (July 18th), Mr. Thayer has still not corrected his illegally redacted IRS 1040 with the Vermont Secretary of State, flagrantly snubbing his nose at Vermont state election law.

Taken together, a disturbing pattern of behavior becomes apparent. I find it gravely troubling that Mr. Thayer has continued to defend the indefensible, courting those that promote conspiracy theories, fascist iconography, and white nationalism. As a Vermont Republican I do not believe these attitudes represent our party’s cherished history of respect and integrity.

Future generations of Americans will see January 6th as the low water mark of our constitutional republic – the first real threat to the peaceful transition of power in a nation built upon that principle. History will remember how we conducted ourselves in this critical time, as citizens and as candidates.”

The author is the campaign manager for Joe Benning for Lieutenant Governor of Vermont. Joe Benning is a Caledonia County lawyer and state senator seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor against Greg Thayer of Rutland. The Chronicle has invited by Thayer and Mark Coester to respond and has promised their responses will be published verbatim, as has McCracken’s statement.

Categories: politics

53 replies »

  1. There. Fixed:

    “Future generations of Americans will see January 6th as the [show-trial] of our constitutional republic – the first [choreographed] threat to the peaceful transition of power in a nation built upon that principle. History will remember how we conducted ourselves in this [manufactured, postmodern] time, as citizens and as [propagandists].”

  2. SO MUCH not true in this example of gaslighting and outright LIES.
    I’ll need some time to dig through the info on how MUCH of this is total crap.

  3. Was Mr. Thayer charged with insurrection. Were any one of the Jan. 6th defendants charged with insurrection. IF NOT STOP CALLING JAN. 6th AN INSURRECTION. JOE BENNING IS A FRAUD AND A LIAR.

  4. This article constitutes nothing more but baseless propaganda. Because someone attended the Jan. 6th event does not make them an insurrectionist. I can only assume this individual is applying the same logic being shoved down the throat of America that anyone who is white is responsible for slavery, a.k.a. guilt by association, based on the color of someone’s skin. This intellectually bankrupt political propaganda has to stop. I feel like I have been transported back to the day’s of the Salem Witch Trials where innocent people are charged and convicted for political and/or social gain, which is supported by a brain washed and delusional public cohort worked up by our politicians and media into a frenzy.

    Thank you for convincing me that Benning has no redeemable qualities or platform of value. If he did, you have discussed Mr. Benning’s values, beliefs and agenda, and not have had to reduce yourself to using political propaganda and slander against you opponent.

    Now for my most serious concern and I quote, “VTDigger reported that Mark Coester (candidate for multiple seats) attended the Colchester 4th of July parade proudly sporting multiple symbols of fascism and white nationalism.” This is very serendipitous, as I just heard NPR (another propaganda arm of the radical left) stating a similar thing. NPR had a speaker on that declared that the most relevant danger to Americas is white nationalists.

    I can only assume that both references to white nationalism are referring to white people who love America, celebrate the Fourth of July and display the American flag. If I am wrong, please correct me Mr. McCracken.

    FASCISTS. The only fascists’ I have seen in action are members of the radical liberal party. You know the ones that colluded with the government to terminate people’s employment for not wanting to participate in a medical experiment (You do know that Nazi Germany also made people participate in medical experiments?). The ones in Essex who fire children for exercising their right to Free Speech, the ones that colluded with big tech to silence all voices that did not agree with the woke agenda and the DOJ who labeled parents as domestic terrorists for attending school board meetings and objecting to their children being indoctrinated into Marxism (BLM, an organization founded by Marxists trained as militants). They are the ones employing doctorial power and militarism (for example encouraging angry activists to show up at the homes of Supreme Court Justices to harass them).

    So many examples and so little time!

      • The thanks and agreement was in reply to CJ’s comment, in no way do I support or agree to the any of the comments in the article! Just noticed it had not directed my reply to CJ. Had to make sure I was not giving credit/ thanks to the gas lighting and Misinformation provided in the article.

    • Fascists don’t believe in the concept of whiteness because being white is an American concept created by anglos.
      Fascists also do not believe in Race as quoted by mussolini here.
      “Race? It is a feeling, not a reality. Ninety-five per cent, at least. Nothing will ever make me believe that biologically pure races can be shown to exist today…. National pride has no need of the delirium of race.” ~ Benito Mussolini
      Talks with Mussolini”. Book by Emil Ludwig, 1932.

  5. Yawn.
    We know them by their fruits.
    When one gaslights showing up in our nation’s capitol in favor of Freedom – as Nancy Pelosi did setting this all in motion (check the record at who used that inflammatory gaslighting language – words – about patriotic Americans who care more about Truth, Faith, and God than this guy and Nance does, enough to show up and stand in their truths) – then one’s true colors show.
    As they did with Nancy and all who continue fall for their communist tactics, as they did with HRC, as they did with beddybi-biden – this is SO easy to see.
    Benning is a company man – a made man – and he has shown this over and over and over again in his replies to my emails, and his choices of what to support, gaslight and nix.
    NOT a human I want leading anything I value.

  6. Let’s be honest, if a true insurrection was going to happen, it would have. There is video proof that the capital police let people in. And another thing Benning, make sure your facts are true before you spout, only one died that day. The unarmed, woman who was shot in the neck by a capital police officer, and no charges. Can’t say the same for other recent situations. Benning your a joke, answer me this, what is a woman? When does life begin? How do you stand on 2nd amendment rights? Preach about the Constitution and Bill of Rights, follow it, In God We Trust, not politicians, they say alot and do very little!

  7. Dear Joe,

    We know you don’t seek to uphold the United States and/or the Vermont
    Constitutions, but please try and remember, WE ARE NOT A DEMOCRACY.


    Those paying attention know you are NOT A REAL REPUBLICAN. You are a RHINO and only on the Ballot as a Republican, because of the weak, spineless, unprincipled Vermont State Republican Leadership.

    You Joe, are an example of ALL that is wrong with those holding elected positions in Vermont and in the US Government. You are one of the arrogant, immoral, controlling, narcissistic, human beings running our governments both state and federal, into a deep black hole of destruction and death. You and your likeness are devoid of common sense, reasoning ability, self-restraint and/or principles. You are gods unto yourselves with depraved hearts and minds.

    It is RICH that you call out Greg and others on their personal choices and expressions while you flagrantly brag about your unrestricted and full support of the murder of human babies in ALL nine months of their growth and development. You, the same man who chaired the Vermont Human Rights Commission. This is certainly oxymoronic.

    Like your ilk often does, you have cherry picked certain opinions, beliefs and statements to attempt to manipulate and bolster your views. You hope there will be enough Vermont Voters to continue to vote for the same twisted, depraved, evil agenda you and others have been a part of in Montpelier.

    Thankfully, Greg Thayer is the opposite of you Joe. There are many other REAL REPUBLICANS like Greg on the Primary Ballot. They are what we need to turn our sick and dark government around. Like Greg, they value every Human Life from conception to natural death. They also know and greatly value that we are a Constitutional Republic.


    • Thanks for the list vtbeliever, I, with many others I believe appreciate it!!!

  8. Joe Benning is a liar.

    The votes of 80,000,000 Americans were stolen in ‘the real insurrection,’ as President Trump has defined the November 2020 election theft.

    The Biden regime siezed the levers of government by fraud, weaponized them against the people, and is destroying America from within.

    But not only is the Vermont Republican Party not defending the votes of its constituents, they are actively sabotaging them and colluding in their disenfranchisement.

    Republican Governor Scott, Vermont Republican Party-endorsed Senate candidate Nolan, and Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate Benning continue to lie to voters – despite abundant proof of multifarious fraud – that ‘Biden won the election,’ ‘there was no fraud,’ ‘only legal votes are being counted,’ ‘it was a free fair and legal election,’ ‘January 6th was an insurrection,’ ‘Donald Trump is the past’ and ‘it’s time to move on.’

    President Trump said in a speech, ‘I just want to say the United States of America will not tell you how to live, how to think, what to do. You will not be bossed by incompetent, dishonest, disgusting politicians, by Big Tech tyrants, by Left wing bullies, or anybody else. We are born free. We will live free.’

    RINOs who lie about January 6th and legitimize Biden election fraud personify the ‘incompetent, dishonest, disgusting politicians’ President Trump was speaking of. They lie, gaslight conservative voters, and collude in their disenfranchisement.

    http://www.VermontCitizen.com is a project to empower voters with facts and truth because ‘we will not be bossed by incompetent, dishonest, disgusting politicians’ like Joe Benning.

    Vermont Citizen Media

  9. I’m thinking Joe would call the DTOM flag under our Stars and Stripes in the front yard another example of “fascist iconography.” Maybe he’d say that about both flags.

  10. Why is Benning permitted to be on the Republican ballot? He is a deepstate shill. The insurrection was on No . 3rd. We will correct this and restore our Republic.

  11. What happened on January 6th was not good. Without the context of the prior 6 months, I may even have gone as far as to call it a “riot”. However, IN-context, it didn’t even rise to the status of “peaceful protest”. Calling it an insurrection is pathetic, transparent power games.

  12. Ignorance abounds. Liz C. And Adam K. Are the only shred of decency that defines ‘Republican’.. go Joe, build up that gene pool. I am trying to keep my association with the Chronicle a point of pride, but these desperate comments dissuade.

    • It sure does, as seen in your comment, John. LIz C and Adam K both Nany’s RINO flying monkeys. Both of which are soon to be out of congress in 2023.

    • Mr.Burns,
      So you agree with the destruction of 250 years of American policy when this fraudulent commission was formed by incompetent people seeking to distort the truth?

      If you ever push the wool back up over your eyes you will see the attempt by those hell bent on destroying America are right in front of you…Mr.Benning is as big a fraud that could ever slither into the State of Vermont and participate in destroying us from within with his rhetoric and lies.

      There is nothing worse than a politician who lies to his constituents while stabbing them in the back.

      Joe Benning, you are not only a disgrace to the Republicans you are a disgrace to our Republic and are a willing participant in her destruction for you personal narcissistic goals.

      Undoubtedly the most famous utterance ever attributed to Lincoln is, “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Early recollections place the saying in an 1858 speech Lincoln delivered in Clinton, Illinois.

      To the people that support our constitution and our Republic you are nothing more than that brown spot in the back of Biden’s. britches.

      It is disgraceful what you and Scott have done to destroy our beautiful state.

      I am going to vote for honesty and integrity…

      Look at the State of Vermont on you failed leadership today.

      It is amazing you block people on Twitter so they can’t respond to your support of the progressives running for office.

      My vote will be cast for GREG THAYER!

      I refuse to vote for the RINOS that signed with you and the rest of the brown nosers that petitioned to remove the best president in recent history, Donald Trump, from office early.

      We are living in the mess today from the results of the ignorance of those people that support Joe Biden.

      You should be ashamed.

  13. Another vote for Greg Thayer here. This statement by Benning is nothing more than gaslighting, wrapped in Bull S–T. Remember, he also voted for Joe ($5.00 a gallon) Biden. The true measure of a person is in the judgements they make. This is the first unarmed insurrection in the history of America where no one has been arrested or charged with insurrection and no firearms were found at the capitol. I used to be a Benning supporter but that was before he went off the rails to support Joe, his support for infantile murder up to 9 months and then his calling Trump supporters numerous names. With a screed like this one, no true republican should vote for him. The police deaths mentioned were suicides and natural causes. Why did the capitol police kill themselves after this riot?

  14. Reading these RINO comments from Benning, we can picture him sitting right next to RINO Liz Cheney on the Unselected Committee.

  15. Thank you Alex McCracken for clearly showing us the values WE the People candidates, like Gregory Thayer, uphold that rival Rhino values Joe Benning. Glad we have a choice.

  16. Full disclosure, I am working with Mr. Thayer as well as several other Real Republican Candidates who have and continue to fight for Pro Life and Constitutional Values.
    I was the Platform Committee Delegate from Chittenden County and worked with the other Delegates who participated in the process to write the Platform of VTGOP members.
    Mr. Benning fought against protections for Health Care Workers that would be forced to participate in abortion on demand and sexual molestation from the State of VT if any Parent or Health Care Worker refused to allow the State of VT to forcibly remove any child that declared they wanted to become a transgender, regardless of age.
    Mr. Benning has voted for Prop 5 twice and at the forum in Rockingham a couple weeks ago admitted he will vote for Article 22 in November.
    Five Republican State Representatives also voted for Prop 5 to advance to the Ballot in November. Governor Scott said he supports it and will vote for it in November.
    Mr. Benning also fought against removing the Tax penalties on the pensions of VT Veterans.
    Mr. Benning has called all the Vermonters that voted for President Trump, White Supremacists and Racists. ( On WCAX Channel 3 in Burlington VT the day after Governor Scott said the same words. at a Press Conference. )
    Mr Benning and the other six people I have named have violated the language of the VTGOP Platform with their votes for and support of Prop 5. The language is clear ;
    Section 4, line 5, Respect for the inherent value of all human life, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, religion, socioeconomic status, or national origin. We value the sanctity city of life from conception to natural death.
    In the Conclusion of the Platform the language is clear, While individual Republicans may hold diverse opinions in some areas, such differences should not deflect from advancing the principles that unite us as a party.
    By definition, Mr. Benning and the others I have named have done exactly that.
    They have all betrayed their promise to uphold the rule of the VTGOP.
    Mr. Benning has no claim against Mr. Thayers tax returns that were filed with the Secretary of State office in a timely fashion. In fact, JP Isabelle accepted Mr. Thayers forms and said they were good just the way they were.
    Mr. Benning stated that as he has walking off the Stage after a debate with Mr. Thayer in Rutland, he received a text from Jim Condos, the current Secretary of State.
    When Mr. Thayer asked Mr. Condos if such a text was sent, Mr. Condos denied it happened.
    In fact, Mr. Condos contacted Mr. Thayer a couple days later to say that he did receive a text from Benning asking about these Tax returns.
    JP Isabelle told Mr. Thayer his Tax Returns were fine and he accepted them.
    Mr. Benning continues to push his claims that Mr. Thayer has broken State Law and was a participant in the ” insurrection ” at the Capitol.
    Mr. Thayer, along with many thousands of Americans expressed their Constitutional Right to voice their opinions that day. More proof has been discovered that a great number of people participated in Ballot Harvesting. In fact it is documented in the video called 2000 Mules.
    I introduced two Amendments that would have given the VTGOP membership a method to remove all financial support and any endorsement from Mr. Benning and the other six Republicans I named above.
    They were voted down twice by a two thirds margin. This is the reason I resigned from the VTGOP.
    Chairman Dame and Rules Committee Chair Koch continue to protect and support these seven people.
    So the irony of Mr. Benning pretending he is a Republican isn’t lost on anyone capable of cognitive thought.

  17. What, exactly, were these “fascist” symbols. The fascist Left uses “fascist as a buzz word. It was popular with Marina Brown, Jesse Diamondstone, and the rest of Liberty Union. Fascist propaganda from the Left.
    E.g.: To consider the actual, videographed events in the Kyle Rittenhouse case was “fascist”.

  18. Also, what about the Antifa/BLM rebellion that cost dozens of lives? 2020 saw just as real of a revolt against this country as did Jan. 6th.
    Jan. 6th was, for better or worse, a historical event. I would have liked to have been there, although I wouldn’t have stormed the Capitol. Most of the crowd didn’t.
    I still support abortion up to 20 weeks.

  19. january 6th was a peaceful rally for 99.99% of the people there.
    Get out and VOTE for Thayer in the Primary!
    VOTE for Ericka Redic for Congress

    • Anya Tynio for U.S. House. Ericka and Anya are both wonderful people, however Anya is more qualified to defend our Constitutional rights. Anya knows red flag laws are unconstitutional, and she supports and defends life from conception until natural death; while Ericka’s website video clips from debates indicate she wants equal funding for all women’s pregnancy choices, which is not completely pro-life, and Ericka evades a direct answer to the 2A question, pivoting to whether juvenile records should be sealed. I encourage everyone to check out their websites and watch the debate videos.

  20. If a cartoon frog is the best reason to vote for Slippery Joe Benning, then it’s obvious that Vermont needs Greg Thayer as the candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

    These are tough times and we need adults in public office, not conspiracists like Benning. It’s time for Greg Thayer.

  21. The REAL joke is that Joe Benning pretends to be a Republican and uses the State Republican Party for his selfish personal gain to climb the political ladder for more power, control and fake prestige. Why isn’t he running with the Political Party that truly fits his views?

    Joe’s actions and words clearly show he doesn’t care about, We The People of Vermont or our Constitutional Rights and Freedoms. He has ALL the same qualities of a true Elitist Tyrant just like his buddy Phil Scott.

    Tyrants claim Freedom to kill Freedom, yet keep Freedom for themselves.

  22. Joe Benning you should be ashamed of yourself. I know you are a competent lawyer and I thought you were a careful one. Your campaign manager denounces your opponent for his “involvement in the insurrection” on January 6 in Washington. What insurrection? Are you actually suggesting that anyone who attended that rally with concerns about the conduct of the 2020 elections (concerns which I share and without any apology) was involved in an insurrection? First, no one has been charged with insurrection. Second, even if anyone had been does that make all attendees “involved?” Of course not. You should apologize to Mr. Thayer immediately.

    • Dear Tomkelly1,

      You made a BIG MISTAKE calling Joe Benning “a competent lawyer.” Maybe you are unaware of his view on the reversal of Roe v Wade? If he can’t understand the basics about our United States Constitution and how our Free Republic works, how can he be a competent lawyer?

      He is also a VERY IMMORAL MAN. He has proudly voted for Article 22 saying he is pro-choice. Vermont Laws already allow for abortion up to the birth of a baby. (2019 – Act 47) Why then, is he voting for Article 22 (personal reproductive autonomy) and citing it is about abortion?

      Besides allowing the barbaric murder of human babies until they are allowed to breathe, what other reprehensible “reproductive” issues does IMMORAL JOE BENNING support and want to allow through Article 22? Many of us REAL REPUBLICANS would like to know.

      We don’t need another arrogant, slick, immoral and out of touch elitist lawyer in our government.


    • Biden regime stole the election by fraud and foreign interference.

      President Trump stated that “the real insurrection” took place on November 3, 2020.

      That makes Joe Benning the insurrectionist.

      Joe Benning is the one giving aid to overthrow of the lawfully elected President and US government by an illegitimate occupying regime that is destroying America from within.

      Benning should not only apologize to Greg Thayer, he should apologize to voters for his treacherous lies and drop out of the race because he is unfit for office.

      Joe Benning is a traitor against the American people, the lawfully elected President, and the United States of America.

      Betrayed From Within: ‘Vichy French’ Quislings of the GOP


  23. I can do without the hyperbole, vtbeliever. By your tone you seem to be picking a fight with someone who agrees with you. I say again – In my opinion and based upon my experience with Attorney Benning, he is a competent lawyer. I disagree with him in labeling his opponent as participating in an insurrection. A competent lawyer should know better. As you point out, for the record Joe Benning is also wrong to support Article 22 in that it is a dangerously vague and unnecessary proposal. For those reasons, even pro-abortion voters should vote “No” on Article 22. We should not be tinkering with the VT constitution with vague terms which the courts will define. Further, I think we need to bring some balance back to Montpelier and I for one would like to appeal to the good judgment of the voters and avoid social media shouting. I will be voting for Mr. Thayer.

  24. Dear Tomkelly1,

    I respectfully disagree with your use of the word, “hyperbole.” The definition of “hyperbole” is “exaggerated speech.” There is nothing I have said that is exaggerated. I know Joe Benning is one of the Vermont State Republican Party favorites, so I’m sure what I have said is not “politically correct” if I’m to be a good little Vermont Republican and get in line with the Party.

    I don’t believe you and I are on the same page at all. Your writing about Joe Benning and referring to him as a “competent lawyer” is very contradictory to the definition of “competent.” He has clearly shown himself to be the opposite. You only chose to call him out on his name-calling of Greg Thayer when there is much, much more to call him out on.

    He and others like him including the present so-called, State Republican Party Leadership continue to ruin the Republican Party in Vermont. For many years Vermont Citizens/Voters who would call themselves Republicans, have repeatedly shown they don’t trust State Republicans. The large majority don’t vote or get involved, because there is no accountability to what a Republican is in Vermont. Many Republican Candidates like Joe Benning are the opposite of what the Party Platform states.

    The Vermont Republican Party has been getting the consequences of their actions for many years yet, here we are doing the same thing over and over, enabling and supporting the RHINO Candidates like Joe Benning instead of supporting the REAL REPUBLICANS who line up with the Principles of the Party.

    Please tell the “whole truth” Tomkelly1. The whole truth is not hyperbole, but it is hard to come by in our selfish, fearful, politically correct environment.

    The REAL State Level Republican Candidates in the Vermont, August 9th Primary Election that line up with the Vermont State Republican Party Platform are:

    Gerald Malloy for US Senate, Anya Tynio for US Congress, Stephen Bellows for Vermont Governor, Greg Thayer for Vermont Lieutenant Governor, H. Brooke Paige for Secretary of State and also H. Brooke Paige as a place holder hoping for REAL Republican Candidates to emerge for the November 2022 Ballot.

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