The leader of an armed group that advertises thousands of ex-cops and veterans as members jumped the shark on Tuesday, imagining a civil war over the 2020 election results and playing out how an army of fringe gun enthusiasts would respond.
Stewart Rhodes, founder of the armed right-wing group Oathkeepers, also said during an appearance on Alex Jones’ Infowars show Tuesday that the left was seeking to steal the election through violence against Trump supporters. He and Jones theorized that a months-old exercise involving political scientists and commentators such as Bill Kristol, David Frum, Max Boot and Norm Eisen was really a blueprint for the overthrow of the Trump administration.
Rhodes paused halfway through his appearance to acknowledge that the discussion sounded absolutely insane.
He’d just finished explaining why Oathkeepers in Washington, D.C. were planning for a “Benghazi-style attack” on the White House around Election Day. Such an event would include a so-called “stand down” order from Pentagon brass, Rhodes posited, which would leave thousands of raging lefties free to fly the communist flag over Washington.
“I know it sounds outlandish, and it sounds kind of crazy, but given the trajectory of the left and how far they’ve gone into Weather Underground terrorism already, I think we’d be foolish not to plan for that as a possibility,” Rhodes said. Media Matters flagged the appearance.
Jones concurred and began explaining that even 500 Secret Service agents would run out of bullets when faced with the leftist hoards, which he described as “armies of methheads they’ve already got cranked up and ready to go in D.C.”
Rhodes, who styles himself a legal scholar fed up with the communist left, has had an itchy trigger finger for a while. He declared in late August that “civil war is here, right now” — his group’s Twitter account was subsequently banned for violating the site’s rules against violent extremist groups — and he and other Oathkeepers showed up in Louisville in September, facing off with protesters.
But the InfoWars appearance Tuesday took things to a new level.
Jones, egging the militia leader on, made frequent reference to the Transition Integrity Project, a months-old tabletop exercise involving politicos of both parties who gamed out various election scenarios. Some on the fringe right, Jones and Trump ally Steve Bannon especially, saw the project as the battleplan for a Deep State coup against the President.
Rhodes complained of the left’s “gaslighting” and accused his political opponents of seeking to intimidate Trump supporters and steal the election.
“And so when those of us who are tasked with defending your rights announce we’re going to stand up and protect people on Election Day, they immediately spin that as though we’re the ones — you know, ‘armed militiamen are going to be out on the streets on Election Day outside of polls to intimidate voters,'” he griped.
But the Oathkeepers leader didn’t seem too concerned with the democratic process.
“I think Trump will beat [Joe Biden] soundly unless it’s stolen,” Rhodes predicted, echoing the President himself.
Eventually, the pair got into a discussion of the coming civil war, getting into the nitty-gritty details. Rhodes noted a modern-day “Ho Chi Minh Trail,” explaining that it was currently supplying arms to the American left-wing through Mexico, and wondered, after the eventual battle had finished, what would be done with the communists who’d betrayed their country.
“It’s kind of like the founding fathers dealing with the loyalists [during the Revolutionary War],'” he said. “What do you do with these people?”
He later compared America’s current state to the Civil War, because there are “sitting politicians who are part of the enemy’s ranks.”
Rhodes and his conspiracy theorist host surveyed the battlefield. “Law enforcement just needs to take matters into their own hands,” Jones said, stressing that he was speaking hypothetically, of course.
The “average Joe,” Rhodes said, would be able to protect their own community. Meanwhile, highly trained veterans “will go for their command-and-control, also.” He said he’d spoken recently to special forces veterans and “also current serving” about the prospect.
“They’re paying very much attention to what’s going on, and quite a few of them are waking up,” he said.