The organizer of South Carolina’s Tea Party Convention on Sunday had to take the microphone from a speaker who was advocating secession from the U.S. and armed revolt against the government.
“It’s time for some revolt!” said Ron McNeil, who runs a group called Patriot Restoration of America. “The next time we have a tea party like the one up in Boston, we’ll probably sink the ships!”
Though McNeil speculated that Texas would be the first state to leave the Union this time around, he strongly supported South Carolina’s potential secession as well. “There were some good things that happened in South Carolina around 1860,” he said, explicitly referring to the attack on Fort Sumter, “and it may be time to take back that fort and give it to a state-run patriot militia.”
Waving his cowboy hat in the air, the 68-year-old McNeil said he would gladly serve on the front lines of a second Civil War. “When you boys get ready to secede, I’ll be here faster than Davy Crockett to the Alamo!”
It was at that point that Joe Dugan, the Myrtle Beach tea party leader who organized the convention, took the microphone from McNeil and offered a disclaimer. “We don’t want anyone to get the impression that we are for secession,” Dugan told the crowd and cameras in attendance. “We have other means of accomplishing our goals, and we don’t want to take any radical steps.”
McNeil apologized, and said he was not in fact advocating for secession. However, it’s unclear how his previous statements could be interpreted as anything but a call for South Carolina and other states to leave the Union.
Despite Dugan’s efforts to dissociate the tea party from McNeil’s outrageous rhetoric, it’s worth noting that at multiple times during the convention, he called for speakers to “take political correctness and put it in a ditch, and bury it.”
It appears he got his wish.
You can watch the official convention video of McNeil’s speech below. (Dugan takes the microphone at 14:00):