The Oath Keepers

Key Figures in the Insurrection

How the Oath Keepers Plotted to Keep Trump in Power

A few weeks before the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, Stewart Rhodes addressed a crowd of “Stop the Steal” activists and other Trump loyalists gathered on the National Mall. Rhodes, the founder of the anti-government extremist group the Oath Keepers, had a message for the president: Trump, Rhodes said, needed to “show the world who the traitors are," and that if he didn't, "we’re going to have to do it ourselves later, in a much more desperate, much more bloody war,” Rhodes threatened.

Right Wing Watch extensively covered the Oath Keepers ahead of Jan. 6. Here’s what you need to know.

Who are the Oath Keepers?

On January 6th, 2021, the Oath Keepers stormed the U.S. Capitol. Dressed in tactical gear and moving in military-style formations, the group attacked police lines and hunted for members of Congress.

They were integral to the violent attack on the Capitol – and their attempts to undermine our democracy haven’t stopped since.

The Oath Keepers, along with the Proud Boys and III Percenters, were among the most notable extremist groups at the Capitol that day, acting as the foot soldiers in Trump’s effort to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. Their actions that day illustrate how right-wing activists’ rhetoric of “1776,” “rebellion,” and “civil war” was not just talk but a rallying cry. The select committee’s first public hearing examined how members of the extremist group, along with the Proud Boys, conspired to keep Trump in power and were willing to commit violence for that goal.

Since the insurrection on January 6th, nineteen members of the Oath Keepers face federal charges for their actions on Jan. 6. Eleven, including Rhodes, have been charged with seditious conspiracy. But members of the group continue to try and undermine our democracy - this time, seeking power in local government.

Mark Finchem, an elected state representative in Arizona, is a member of the group. In a state that saw tense protests around the 2020 election based on false claims of voter fraud, Finchem continues to peddle election conspiracy theories.

Now—with Trump’s endorsement—he is running for Secretary of State in Arizona. If he wins, he would be in charge of how that state runs its elections.


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