In the run-up to the Jan. 6 riot, founder of the Oath Keepers militia, Stewart Rhodes, insisted Donald Trump could stay in office by exposing the “pedophiles” who hold high offices in the federal government. Rhodes also told his supporters that their purpose in staging a show of force in Washington, DC, was to apply “positive pressure” to Trump to expose the demonic nature of the “deep state.”
“You have to make sure he knows you’re willing to die to fight for this country,” Rhodes said.
The militia leader’s comments appear in a transcript of an Oath Keepers GoToMeeting web conference recorded on November 9, 2020 and presented in a recent federal court filing on behalf of Oath Keeper colleague Edward Vallejo. Like Rhodes, Vallejo faces seditious conspiracy charges for attempting to use force to block the presidential transfer of power.
Rhodes’ comments reflect a belief system that—if not entirely QAnon—at least verges on baseless conspiracy theory. QAnon believes the government is infested with satanic pedophile Democrats, and Q supporters have portrayed Trump as a hero who can expose the evildoers and defeat their power in the “deep state.” While the Oath Keepers movement is also steeped in conspiratorial thinking, the militia’s paranoid ideology has traditionally been concerned with tyrannical gun thieves or searchless federal searches — not demonic, child-abusing politicians.
Shortly after Joe Biden’s resounding election victory, Rhodes spoke to trusted Oath Keeper MPs, arguing that Trump should fight to stay in office and that he must disclose “all the dirty secrets” of government officials in a “massive” repository of data to build support. After seeing the rot exposed, Rhodes insisted “the people will turn against the deep state” and help Trump emerge triumphant.
The leader of the Oath Keepers imagined the Trump-led leaks are slowly building. “All he has to do is declassify the first record of a pedophile that’s in Congress, and then another, and put the videos online and let people watch them,” Rhodes said. “Everyone will see it. You can’t stop this. As soon as he announces the first handful of pedophiles in office, the avalanche can continue.”
As part of this “avalanche,” Rhodes wanted Trump to expose not only “corrupt politicians,” but “corrupt, sold-out pedophile judges.” After Trump’s data dump, Rhodes said, “The mask will fall off, the curtain will be drawn back, and we will see… the little demon behind it.”
Rhodes’ Q-inflected rhetoric may seem irritating, but Michael Jensen, senior investigator at the University of Maryland’s Domestic Radicalization Project, argues that by 2020, the rugged, militant Oath Keepers and extremely online supporters of QAnon had begun to diverge choice to pollinate each other. “They don’t think they have a lot of ideological similarities,” says Jensen, but they do share “the same group of villains,” QAnon, which denounces the rule of a secret “cabal,” and the Oath Keepers, who are owned by a corrupt elite are they call the “globalists”.
“If you think there is this group of globalists — liberal elites who are going to take all your rights away from you — it’s not a big step to say, ‘Oh, by the way, they’re also involved in this pedophilia ring,'” says Jensen. By 2020, the Oath Keepers had also given up some of their distrust of the federal government and viewed Trump as their champion. “He becomes the savior in their story,” Jensen says, “just like he always was in QAnon history.”
In the taped web call, Rhodes argued that the chilling evidence of elite corruption would also help shield the Oath Keepers from accountability. “You’re taking away the authority, perceived authority, from the courts to stop you,” he said. “They take away the supposed authority of Congress.”
But the militia leader insisted that only a show of force by groups like the Oath Keepers would steel Trump against “the snakes that are on his mind right now and encourage him to quit like Kushner” – an apparent reference to Trump’s son-in-law. Law Jared Kushner. “We have to get Trump to do what he can,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes even argued that the “deep state” revelations could drag the US military into the fight to maintain Trump’s power. “If the President does a data dump, exposes all the pedophiles… then you will have a vast majority of your fighters in the military,” Rhodes predicted. “Only the utterly corrupt will be on their side; those who have everything to lose.”
A message to Rhodes’ attorneys asking for comment or contextualization of the GoToMeeting log was not immediately returned.
QAnon had its own oversized presence on January 6th. The shirtless “QAnon Shaman” became an instant icon of the uprising. Icons depicting QAnon were visible throughout the attack on the Capitol, and belief in the conspiracy theory was an issue in the court cases of many rioters, who faced charges. The Oath Keepers – in their uniforms and military “stack” formations – appeared to represent a distinct faction, and the federal government certainly pursued them as such.
“You think of the Oath Keepers as the retired police officers and the veterans, and you think of QAnon as the shaman with the horns and the face paint—they just seem radically different,” says Jensen. But these superficial differences, he argues, hide an uglier truth about January 6: “If you look at the people involved, there was a lot of overlap in terms of common ideas.”
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/stewart-rhodes-oath-keepers-trump-pedophiles-1350603/ Stewart Rhodes told oath-holders Trump should expose pedophiles