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Stewart Rhodes

Photo by Gage Skidmore/ CC BY-SA 2.0

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Oath Keepers militia leader Stewart Rhodes said that he has armed men on standby outside of Washington, D.C., to supposedly prevent the 2020 presidential election from being stolen from President Donald Trump. Echoing elements of the QAnon conspiracy theory during an appearance on far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' program, Rhodes said the only way to prevent his men from engaging in a "bloody fight" would be Trump declassifying information to supposedly expose pedophiles in the "deep state" and allow the president to stay in power.

Rhodes also indicated his militia will be involved in a rally to support Trump planned for this weekend in the nation's capital.

Rhodes' Oath Keepers militia, which comprises "former law enforcement officials and military veterans," is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as "one of the largest radical anti-government groups in the U.S. today." But, as Rhodes recent public comments have made clear, the organization's purpose has shifted from opposing the government to instead act as a pro-Trump vigilante group that is willing to violently support Trump's unjust attempts to stay in power after losing the 2020 election.

Rhodes joined Jones and Infowars host Owen Shroyer during the November 10 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show. Rhodes claimed that, in order to stop the election from being stolen from him, Trump needs to declassify information exposing members of the "deep state" so that Americans will "all know exactly who the pedophiles are." According to Rhodes, judges -- including Supreme Court Justice John Roberts -- politicians, and members of the legal community, academia, and media are all part of the "deep state." These comments echoed a central tenet of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims that Trump is engaged in a battle with a cabal of pedophile elites.

Rhodes said Trump should task special forces leaders in the military to gather and process the information because "he cannot trust the normal military intelligence services." Noting that he has previously been opposed to U.S. military intervention in domestic matters, Rhodes said that in this case Trump should invoke The Insurrection Act to accomplish this goal.

Rhodes then said that, in support of Trump, "we have men already stationed outside D.C. as a nuclear option in case they attempt to remove the president illegally, we will step in and stop it" and emphasized that these men are "armed" and "prepared to go in, if the president calls us up." In addition to activity outside of the capital, Rhodes said he will have Oath Keepers inside the city this coming weekend to support a caravan of Infowars supporters being led by Shroyer who say they will hold an event on November 14. The Infowars contingent is one of several far-right groups that say that they will rally in the city to support Trump. Stewart added that his group has been doing "recon" for the past week in the Washington, D.C., area.

Rhodes called on supporters of Trump to converge on the capital in the same manner as far-right militia members gathered at a Nevada ranch in 2014 to threaten federal law enforcement officers who were attempting to enforce a court order against rancher Cliven Bundy. He also made it clear during his appearance that the only alternative to Trump staying in power would be violence, saying, "It's either President Trump is encouraged, and bolstered, [and] strengthened to do what he must do or we wind up in a bloody fight. We all know that. The fight's coming."

Rhodes previously claimed during an appearance on Jones' show to have Oath Keepers stationed outside of Washington, D.C., for Election Day, to prevent an unhinged scenario he predicted in which opponents of Trump, aided by foreign terrorists, would storm the White House, and the Secret Service would run out of bullets, necessitating backup from members of his militia. While making those comments, Rhodes hyped the prospect of his Oath Keepers members engaging in widespread violence against the left in a civil war scenario.

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