A former top Republican, his wife, and an armed aide reportedly staged a coup in the Washington office of one of the Tea Party's biggest backers amid fears that the organisation was being hijacked by fellow conservatives, it emerged Wednesday. The news comes amid growing signs of disarray in the once powerful grassroots movement.
Dick Armey, former head of the Tea Party-affiliated FreedomWorks, was ousted in September with an $8m payoff. At the time he told Associated Press "my differences with FreedomWorks are a matter of principle" and that other board members had urged him not to leave until after the 6 November election.
But the Washington Post painted a far more fractious picture of his departure. According to its report, Armey, a former majority leader of the House of Representatives, walked into the FreedomWorks' Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and a gun-toting aide. The assistant, with a handgun holstered on his waistband, escorted FreedomWorks' top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others.