A militant pro-Trump group proclaiming “civil war” and “insurrection” is nigh has recruited thousands of people from the military and law enforcement, the Atlantic reports. Oath Keepers, founded in 2009 by Yale Law graduate Stewart Rhodes, has shifted from talking about revolution to proclaiming its support for President Trump in potential election-related unrest.
With a talent for giving fringe ideas more mainstream appeal, Rhodes advocates resisting gun-control laws as part of a broader tapestry of conspiratorial fears of imminent tyranny. Since Trump’s election, Oath Keepers have monitored polling places, patrolled the Mexican border and served as bodyguards for Trump supporters at rallies and protests. A database of its members as of 2105, leaked to the Atlantic, shows support in every state, with two-thirds of its members sharing a background in the military or law enforcement. About 10 percent were active duty. The database has 25,000 names, but members often sign up and then forget about it. Still, Rhodes has contact with “a surprisingly large contingent of people with real police and military experience to consider armed political violence.”