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'Bikers For Trump' Leader Says Candidate Has 'Untied The Tongue Of America'

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

So if you were in Washington, D.C., yesterday, there's a good chance you heard something like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF 2016 ROLLING THUNDER MOTORCYCLE RALLY)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

That's Rolling Thunder, the annual Memorial Day Weekend event to commemorate U.S. prisoners of war and those missing in action.

CHANG: It draws tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts to the nation's capital each year. This year, organizers invited a prominent speaker.

(SOUNDBITE OF 2016 ROLLING THUNDER MOTORCYCLE RALLY)

DONALD TRUMP: Rolling Thunder - look at all these bikers. Do we love the bikers? Yes. We love the bikers.

(APPLAUSE)

INSKEEP: Donald Trump came out for the ride and got an endorsement from the Rolling Thunder organization. Chris Cox was there with the group he leads, Bikers for Trump.

CHANG: From South Carolina, Cox has been involved with Republican politics for years. He told our colleague David Greene that Trump has inspired many of the bikers he knows.

CHRIS COX: The three things that got bikers' attention in this order were radical Islam - who's going to get behind and fight ISIS? Who's going to take it to them instead of waiting for them to bring it to us? Donald Trump's the man for that job. Second is illegal immigration. And because bikers want to see a wall built and because they want to see Syrian refugees vetted, it doesn't make us racists. It makes us patriots.

And our third and one of the most important is to get behind the American veteran. We believe it is incumbent for everyone who understands the sacrifice and the commitment, the value of the servicemen and women - both active-duty and retired - that we must get behind them. And we've got to change these policies in Washington, start treating these guys a lot better.

DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: You used the term racist. And many of Donald Trump's critics have accused him of being racist. Many have said that his supporters who believe there should be a wall, who believe that Muslims should not be allowed in the country for a period of time, are racist. Can you - I just want to give you the chance to respond to that since you brought it up.

COX: Well, I think that political correctness has tongue-tied America. And activists and people are - have been afraid to speak out of fear of being called a racist. And Donald Trump has almost single-handedly untied the tongue of America.

INSKEEP: Chris Cox says Bikers for Trump is playing a specific role, traveling to Trump campaign events to face down anti-Trump protesters.

COX: So we've had some bikers that have been, you know, served as human barriers, if you will. The police have done a lot better job since - you know, since Chicago and Arizona - things got really out of hand.

GREENE: Actually canceled a Trump event in Chicago, I think.

COX: Yeah, so...

GREENE: Do you worry though that, you know, you guys can be pretty intimidating with these loud bikes. I mean, do you worry that if you're intimidating people who are coming to protest that you might be, you know, threatening free speech in a way?

COX: We embrace the free speech. We have never done anything to intimidate anybody. Bikers aren't renegade outlaws like a lot of people might think. They're not only blue-collar; they're white-collar. And they're from all tax brackets. And the biker these days is going - is very politically active. And they vote, and they're very loyal.

CHANG: David Greene talking with Chris Cox, the founder of Bikers for Trump. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.