The unusual remarks Idaho’s Republican lieutenant governor delivered last week at a rally hosted by the right-wing militia Real Three Percent of Idaho raised fresh concerns about her coziness with the militia movement.
The editorial board of the Idaho Falls Post Register noted in a Tuesday op-ed that an oath Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin administered to rally attendees bore more resemblance to the state-wide oath for military officers and enlisted men than the one for elected officials.
McGeachin’s comments amounted to a “dangerous embrace” of far-right militias, the board wrote.
It appears the oath was pre-planned, too. Ahead of the event, KBOI reported that “Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin will speak, and an [sic] spectators will be invited to take an oath of citizenship. Later, there will be a screening of the documentary, ‘Dead Man Talking’, about LaVoy Finicum.”
The Real Three Percent of Idaho published video of the oath, which took place near a Patriot’s Day rally it hosted Friday on the steps of the Idaho State Capitol building.
“Today it’s really special because I’m actually your acting governor,” McGeachin said before administering the oath. (Idaho Gov. Brad Little was out-of-state at the time, the Post Register reported.)
In a statement, a staffer for the lieutenant governor told the paper: “Some of the attendees at the Patriots’ Day celebration wished to recite an oath to express their support for and dedication to the U.S. Constitution. It was not delivered in a legal context and therefore holds no legal significance.”
The paper noted McGeachin’s ties to the Three Percenters, including a picture she posted and quickly deleted in March with two men making a hand sign associated with the militia and wearing prison jumpsuits with the name “Engel” printed across the front. “Sending love to Todd Engel,” her caption wrote in part.
Engel was sentenced to 14 years in prison as a result of the 2014 stand-off at Cliven Bundy’s ranch between militia members and federal agents. Finicum, the subject of the documentary reportedly screened at Friday’s event, was killed by federal agents while participating in the Bundy sons’ 2016 armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge.
H/t J.J. MacNab