Wisconsin GOP Group Condemned for 'Prepare for War' Website Message

With the U.S. reeling from the aftermath of the insurrection in the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Donald Trump, a GOP group in Wisconsin is under fire for a message on its website that urges conservatives to "prepare for war."

At the top of the website of the St. Croix Republican Party is the Latin phrase "Si vis pacem, para bellum." The GOP group from the northwest of the Badger State says the message, which means "If you want peace, prepare for war," had been online before the protests last Wednesday.

On the front of the group's website, which it describes as a "digital battlefield" and whose banner reads "Patriots: God, guns freedom, liberty," the St. Croix Republicans say that "never before has the mission of the Conservative patriot been so clear."

It claims that over the last four years, the Democrats had worked with the "Marxist left and a complicit mass media" to overturn the 2016 election and accused the party of "changing the rules of the game" in the 2020 election cycle.

U.S. Capitol protests
Protesters by the U.S. Capitol on January 06, 2021 in Washington, D.C. In the aftermath of the violence, a Wisconsin GOP faces criticism for a website message that says "prepare for war." Win McNamee/Getty Images

"It's time to stand and be counted as a conservative warrior in the on-going fight to preserve our Constitutional Republic," the website says, "we need to start local by removing leftist tyrants from all local and County positions in the future April elections."

State GOP chairman Andrew Hitt criticized the tenor of the website, saying how "especially in light of recent events, it's an ill-chosen phrase to express their sentiments."

"We suggested at an earlier date they remove this, but they declined to take our advice," Hilt told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

St. Croix County Supervisor Catherine Leaf also criticized the messaging, telling the Sentinel that "these are philosophical and political differences. This is not war, and to invoke those words is wrong."

Meanwhile, Dan Myers, chairman of the St. Croix County Democratic Party, told Kare 11 that he had been contacted by a number of people concerned about the language that the GOP group had used.

However, John Kraft, chairman of the St. Croix County Republican Party, said the message had been up before last Wednesday's protests and that he "can't help what twisted inferences local Democrats choose to attribute to it."

"If you think there's a story there, great," Kraft told the Sentinel, adding, "No press is bad press as far as I'm concerned." Newsweek has contacted the St. Croix County Republican Party for comment.

The violence in Washington, D.C. last week that left five people dead has sparked calls for a toning down of rhetoric with tensions high amid threats of more violence at statehouses nationwide ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Brian Harrell, former Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection at the Department of Homeland Security, had previously told Newsweek that ahead of the event on January 20, Trump loyalists may attack other targets around the nation.

"Soft targets, crowded places, and critical infrastructure remain an attractive target to domestic terrorists and to those who wish to embarrass the government," he said.

The graphic below by Statista shows how Americans feel about the removal of Trump from office before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

trump removal from office graph
Statista