There will be resistance. The only question is what the spark will be, Rhodes said in January. 30 Interview with Infowars, one of the largest disseminators of conspiracy theories in the United States. They keep pushing, he says, what he calls the left. That’s why it’s so important… Let them shed the first blood. Then fight back.
Rhodes spoke to CNN in the days following the violent invasion of Capitol Hill, but did not respond to numerous phone calls and emails seeking comment on the Oath Keepers’ future for this story.
But his rhetoric after the riots in CNN interviews and reports reflects what he had suggested to his supporters beforehand when he urged them to attend the rally on the 6th. January.
Every patriot who arrives in Washington must be in Washington. It’s time to get up. It’s not too late. Get in the plane! Jump in your car! Just go, Rhodes, on the 4th. January. Get up now, or get on your knees forever.
Guardians of the Oath on Capitol Hill
Rhodes’ call was apparently heard and heeded by a number of people who entered the Capitol that day, including former members of the armed forces for whom the Oath Keepers group is actively recruiting members.
Jessica Watkins, who was confirmed by Rhodes as a custodian of the oath, has become a central figure in the government’s case against the rebels.
She was photographed with Rhodes – who is distinguished by a black eye patch – in November at the Stop Theft and Million Magician march in Washington, D.C.
Watkins, who served in the Army, along with two other Army veterans and alleged oatbreakers Donovan Crowl and Thomas Caldwell are charged with conspiracy and other charges in connection with the attack.
We’re on the mezzanine. We’re in the main dome now. We’re on fire, Watkins said in a walkie-talkie app, according to federal prosecutors. They say she coordinated with others.
We’re on fucking Capitol Hill, Crowl! Watkins allegedly shouted at Crowle from behind while Crowle delivered a selfie punch in the video, according to the lawsuit against the two.
Watkins and Crowl are in jail and had no assigned attorney when this story was published. Caldwell is accused of coordinating with Watkins and Crowl before, during and after the attack. His lawyer says Caldwell denies any involvement with the Keepers of the Oath.
He also says that Caldwell worked for the FBI. An FBI spokesman said it is policy not to comment on personnel matters, and CNN cannot confirm that Caldwell works for the FBI. But a source with insider knowledge of the Oath Keepers’ operation told CNN that some members are subject to federal prosecution but are kept out of the official membership database for reasons of plausible deniability.
The FBI is trying to identify a group of 8 to 10 people who wore military tactical gear with Oath Keepers paraphernalia on the Capitol steps. A photo shows some Oath Keepers in the Capitol rotunda.
Rhodes, who was attached to the sixth. Janvier has not been charged, saying he did not enter the Capitol. But he was spotted after an attack with people wearing Oath Keepers’ uniforms, who is now wanted by the FBI.
The FBI has requested information on the group in the FBI photos.
Rhodes told CNN shortly after the riots that he’s not anti-government, but that he doesn’t trust the FBI now.
Inflammatory rhetoric and offers of assistance
Rhodes, now 55, is an Army veteran and disbarred lawyer who turned against the Oath Keepers in 2009 after the group gained notoriety during Barack Obama’s first campaign.
Our job is not to obey the one who turns out to be the leader. Our job is to protect the constitution and the republic, Rhodes told CNN in 2009.
Rhodes and other militias began denouncing the government as tyrannical, according to Alex, an alleged investigator-investigator with Friedfeld’s Anti-Defamation League.
Rhodes has bragged about his commitment to recruiting active and retired military and law enforcement officers. The oath on behalf of the group represented a commitment to defend the constitution against external and internal enemies, on the grounds that they did not necessarily have to obey the orders of a government they considered illegitimate.
He found a way to include his group in national conflagrations by positioning members as community advocates while continuing to use loaded rhetoric. Members of the Oath Keepers were in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 during the months-long protests against the murder of Michael Brown by police. They said they were there to protect the company. A specific presence was applauded by A specific presence was applauded by A specific presence was applauded by A specific presence was applauded by A specific presence was applauded by A specific presence was applauded by A specific presence was dangerous to others…. For example, according to the ADL, some Oath Keepers were involved in the controversy over the Bundy Ranch in Nevada. Rhodes also said people should come to Washington after the Bundy Ranch standoff.
During the Obama years, according to the ADL and other groups that track extremism, the Oath Keepers openly opposed the government.
But the rise of political outsider Donald Trump has caused changes. Trump’s calls to drain the swamp and his political positions now have more parallels to Rhodes’ rhetoric than the campaigns of previous presidential candidates.
During the 2016 election, Rhodes issued a call to action called Operation Sabot, in which he called on members and supporters of the movement to attempt to deceive or intimidate voters during the ballot box. For example, Rhodes often wrote and referred to Hillary Clinton, whom he vehemently called Hitlery.
Even then, he used language to ensure that the election would not be stolen by the citizens.
When Trump took office, Rhodes stopped criticizing political leaders and focused on issues where he and the then-president had similar feelings – anger against illegal immigration, China and the left, and defense of Second Amendment rights. He has often talked about the deployment of oath keepers at the U.S.-Mexico border. After the Parkland school massacre in February 2018, he called on Pledge Keepers to legally stand armed in front of schools.
Mr. Rhodes said his group provided security for VIPs attending Trump’s meetings. And he went even further, saying that if the President of the United States designated them as the American militia to secure our schools, protect our borders, or whatever he asked them to do to enforce our laws, to repel invasions and suppress rebellions that he falsely claimed the leftists would commit, they would help the average American prepare.
We want a militia to be largely rebuilt and trained in this country, he added.
When Trump announced he was running for re-election, Rhodes and other extremist groups began fanning the flames about what might happen if he lost, often mentioning civil war. In July 2019, Rhodes told Alex Jones on Infowars that if Trump is not re-elected, we will not accept the outcome and will have no choice but to fight.
He boasted that he had well-trained veterans in his group.
If this degenerates into a civil war, a bloody war, they will immediately get to work and show it to the left, he said.
After Biden won the election, Rhodes wrote on the 23rd. December: open letter to Donald Trump urging him, among other things, to enact the Rebellion Act and pointing out that millions of American patriots are willing to do so. The law allows the president to unilaterally deploy troops in certain limited circumstances related to the protection of constitutional rights.
Don’t leave her. Don’t make them do everything themselves. Keep your promise. Drain the water, so do it now! wrote ControlControlRhodes. We will help you every step of the way.
After the seat
The way words were turned into action came as no surprise to those who had been watching groups like the Pledge Keepers for years.
In late 2020, we saw an increase in Stuart Rhodes’ aggressive rhetoric, ADL’s Friedfeld told CNN. He began to see the election as a line in the sand where, if the Democrat wins, it will be an imposition of tyranny.
Rhodes told CNN after the outbreak of violence that he and his members were in Washington, D.C., as part of his global protection mission. Watkins’ girlfriend told CNN last month that she went to the capital to help protect some of Trump’s VIP employees. In January, a man dressed in oath was spotted apparently guarding Trump’s confidant Roger Stone.
Rhodes has after the sixth. Janvier lost several followers. The North Carolina chapter has pulled out of the Rhodes group, although it stated in a letter to the local sheriff, which it shared with CNN, that it still supports the mission and will rename itself.
We could see the chaos and wanted no part of it, wrote Doug Smith, who said he was in Washington that day but did not enter Capitol Hill.
The men of North Carolina believe that the national leaders (the Pledge Keepers) could have prevented this and did nothing, so they and the men can no longer be associated with the Pledge Keepers after this sad event in our nation’s history.
But there are many other chapters and group members. Accused leaders like Watkins are on trial for their alleged involvement in the Sixth Amendment riot. While Janvier is in jail or being hunted down, Rhodes continues to preach and give orders to anyone who will listen.