A pastor in west-central Minnesota is in the spotlight over a video he posted in support of President Donald Trump, in which he urges people to "take up arms."
Pastor Darryl Knappen, of Cornerstone Church in Alexandria, posted a 13-minute video to Facebook that has been viewed more than 50,000 times. In it, he repeats debunked claims about election fraud, rails against corruption and "fake news," and alleges without evidence that the Democratic party will lead destructive riots in the coming days.
This is despite the FBI and other law enforcement officials warning that state Capitols across the country are at risk from attack from right-wing extremists in the lead-up to Joe Biden's inauguration as president.
Knappen calls on Trump to "enact martial law and the insurrection act" in order to "protect the Constitution" he has attempted to subvert by overturning the election results.
The video by Knappen prompted a column from the Alexandria Echo Press' Mike McFeely, who denounced the pastor's "lies," describing them as "chilling and dangerous."
The Capitol building in St. Paul has been named in an FBI report as a possible location for right-wing violence, prompting Gov. Tim Walz to activate the National Guard for support in St. Paul.
The FBI memo first reported by Yahoo News Monday mentioned that Minnesota could be a target for extremists from the "Boogaloo" movement, saying it was aware of a "credible threat" at the Capitol on Jan. 17.
On Tuesday, the Star Tribune reported that the same Yahoo report noted that members of the Boogaloo movement – a far-right, anti-government organization – had attended rallies at the Minnesota State Capitol in December "to identify escape points and defensible positions in the event violence occurred."
They also scouted general law enforcement presence, with one of them suggesting that "the building with the snipers would need to be blown up" in the event of a shootout with law enforcement, the Star Tribune reported.
Knappen, who has been at the church since 1994, tells his followers that Democrats are preparing to "unleash" what he called the party's "armed camp," which he claims to be a mixture of anti-fascists and Black Lives Matter.
The proof of this, he says, can be obtained through "websites that I can recommend to you." There is no credible evidence to back up his claims, but he nonetheless called on his followers to "arm up" and join a "citizen militia" to help local police and sheriff's offices.
The insurrection at the Capitol by Trump supporters seeking to overturn the election result resulted in more than 60 police officers being injured, one fatally.
Knappen claims that while his comments may sound "crazy," it's true "based on what I've heard generals admit."