Elmer Stewart Rhodes called for ‘civil war’ that would be a ‘bloody and desperate fight’
Tasha Adams, the wife of Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes, made the comments during an interview on CNN a day after he was charged with seditious conspiracy for his alleged role in the Capitol riot.
Ms Adams said she was happy he was arrested and that she had previous feared for the safety of herself and her family. She said she felt “so much relief” that the man was behind bars and facing serious charges.
“I knew I lived in fear he might show up here. But the – just setting that weight down and knowing we were safe and my kids were safe and my kids’ school doesn’t have to worry, that was a relief I didn’t know existed,” she told CNN’s John Berman.
When Mr Berman asked if she thought Mr Rhodes was a threat to the country, Ms Adams said that he was a “dangerous man.”
“He is very dangerous. He lives very much in his own head,” she said. “He sees himself as a great leader, he almost has his own mythology of himself and I think he almost made it come true as seeing himself as some sort of figure in history and it sort of happened. He’s a complete sociopath, he does not feel empathy for anyone around him at all.”
Mr Rhodes is the first individual to face seditious conspiracy charges tied to the Capitol riot.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and requires prosecutors to prove that at least two people agreed to use force to overthrow the government or delay the implementation of a US law.
Prosecutors provided a more than 48-page indictment outlining Mr Rhodes’ statements to his members ahead of the Capitol riot. In several of the exchanges Mr Rhodes called for the need to use for a “civil war,” telling his members on Election Day to “stock up on ammo” in preparation for a “full-on war in the streets” if former President Donald Trump lost.
“We aren’t getting through this without a civil war,” he wrote on the encrypted messaging app Signal two days after the 2020 election. “Too late for that. Prepare your mind, body, spirit.”
In December 2020, he told Oath Keepers in several states that “it will be a bloody and desperate fight,” and that “we are going to have a fight. That can’t be avoided.”
Last summer Mr Rhodes spoke with The New York Times and claimed that he had given “zero instructions” for his members to enter the Capitol.
However, at least four Oath Keepers who were at the Capitol on 6 January are cooperating with the government and have given sworn statements claiming that the gang’s plan was to enter the Capitol and prevent the Electoral College certification.
In the months after Joe Biden won the 2020 election, Mr Rhodes allegedly began spending thousands of dollars to purchase firearms, ammunition and tactical gear.
The Oath Keepers became a regular presence at right-wing events and incidents during the Obama Administration. Members were present during the 2014 Bundy standoff in Nevada, and later roamed the streets with firearms in Ferguson, Missouri after racial justice riots broke out after the police shooting of Michael Brown.
The group generally espoused anti-government views, but changed its tune when Mr Trump took office. They also acted against racial justice protesters in the 2020 George Floyd protests that swept the nation.