The founder of the Oath Keepers popped up at a rally near the U.S.-Mexico border last week, sharing the roster with Texas Republican Party Chairman Allen West and other Republican politicians.
Stewart Rhodes has not been charged with anything related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, but he acknowledged some heat from law enforcement during his remarks, which were reported by The Daily Beast Wednesday.
“I may go to jail soon,” Rhodes said. “Not for anything I actually did, but for made-up crimes.”
As the list lengthens of Oath Keepers and Proud Boys facing serious prison time for their alleged involvement in the Capitol attack, prosecutors have made clear that they’re aware of Rhodes’ actions that day, too.
In court filings, the government has quoted text messages and noted phone call metadata that they say show Rhodes — referred to as “Person 1” — was in touch with alleged rioters before and after the attack. At one point Rhodes even allegedly pointed fellow Oath Keepers to a specific side of the Capitol where he allegedly reported that there were “Patriots pounding on the doors.”
Rhodes took the stage at the March 26 “We The People Stand For Border Security” rally about two and a half hours after West, the former congressman and current Texas GOP chair, according to video of the rally.
Others who spoke Friday included the unsuccessful Texas House of Representatives candidate Jennifer Fleck; Sandra Whitten, the Republican nominee in 2020 for Texas’ 28th congressional district; and “Big Dan Rodimer,” the Republican congressional candidate and former pro wrestler who’s been the subject of mockery recently for changing his accent in between his candidacies in Nevada and Texas.
The event was not officially affiliated with the Republican Party, but, The Daily Beast reported, it took place on the same day and in the same city as the Texas GOP’s quarterly meeting, and the Webb County Republican Party advertised both the official event and “a great Patriotic Rally taking place on the banks of the Rio Grande until 6PM today” on its Facebook page.
Kimberly Fletcher, the founder and president of the group Moms for America and a speaker at a rally in D.C. the day before the Capitol attack, was also on the speaker’s list.
Introducing Rhodes, Fletcher acknowledged that “Oath Keepers gets a bad rap” before defending the group.
“These are real patriots who get what the Constitution is and want to make sure that that constitution is protected,” Fletcher said. “So if you’re looking for the front line of defense against the communists, I’d say that the reason why the media hates Oath Keepers is because they’re standing in their way.”
“We’re facing a communist overthrow of our nation, and this is a fact,” Rhodes said when he took the stage, comparing the current moment to the Revolutionary era in American history.
“You now have a foreign power, the Chinese and the globalists, who have illegitimately installed their puppet, the ChiCom puppet Biden, through a stolen election,” Rhodes said.
It’s hardly Rhodes’ first time on the border: In 2019, he showed up at a construction site of “We Build The Wall” — the GoFundMe-powered, Steve Bannon-backed border wall project whose leadership subsequently faced fraud charges — and spoke about the Oath Keepers’ own efforts to monitor the border.
Rhodes said at the rally that he was “proud” that the Oath Keepers, along with Trump, Rudy Giuliani and the Proud Boys, were defendants in a lawsuit over the events of Jan. 6.
“If we actually intended to take over the Capitol, we’d have taken it, and we’d have brought guns,” Rhodes said. “That’s not why we were there that day. We were there to protect Trump supporters from antifa.”
Rhodes said the Oath Keepers were the “tip of an iceberg.”
“They don’t understand that below the surface, there’s a great mass of other patriots, other veterans, and current-serving, who feel exactly the same way,” he concluded. “And they will never find out who they are until it’s too late. Hooah!”