How Trump railed against 'insurrection' — while encouraging Oath Keepers insurrectionists: conservative

How Trump railed against 'insurrection' — while encouraging Oath Keepers insurrectionists: conservative

In the 2020 presidential election, then-President Donald Trump ran on a fear-mongering "law and order" platform — insisting that the United States would be overwhelmed by violent crime, looting, chaos and anarchy if now-President Joe Biden were elected and warning that any "insurrectionists" would be dealt with harshly. But Never Trump conservative Amanda Carpenter, in an article published by The Bulwark on June 7, finds it ironic that the same Trump who ranted against insurrection encouraged the insurrectionist Oath Keepers — one of the far-right groups that attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6.

"On January 6, 2021, members of the Oath Keepers, high on conspiracies and disinformation, went to Washington, D.C. to support then-President Donald Trump," explains Carpenter, who is often featured as a conservative pundit on CNN. "They anticipated that they would be providing 'security' for 'patriots' attending his Stop the Steal rally — and should the need present itself, that they would put down an insurrection. In reality, their group, which explicitly recruits former military service members and law enforcement officers, helped spur an insurrection of its own. And today, some of the Oath Keepers are defendants at the center of the largest criminal investigation in U.S. history."

Carpenter recalls Trump's emphasis on "law and order" following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. On June 1, 2020, she notes, Trump "delivered a terse Rose Garden speech threatening to deploy the U.S. military to any city or state that 'refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents.'"

Carpenter notes, "Trump's staff argued that the threatened military deployment would have been permitted under the Insurrection Act of 1807, which empowers the president to deploy federal troops for domestic law enforcement under certain circumstances…. As summer changed into fall, talk on the right of an 'insurrection' that might be met with a military response shifted from the George Floyd protests and civil unrest to the 2020 election — the same terms and the same proposed action, just a new target."

When Trump appeared on Fox News in September 2020, Carpenter recalls, host Jeanine Pirro asked him how he would respond if he won the election and Democrats rioted. And the then-president responded, "We'll put them down very quickly if they do that. We have the right to do that. We have the power to do that if we want. Look, it's called 'insurrection.' We just send in, and we do it, very easy. I mean, it's very easy."

Carpenter goes on to say, however, that Oath Keepers founder and Trump supporter Stewart Rhodes "has been talking about insurrection for years." In an August 2020 Facebook post, Rhodes wrote, "Civil war is here, right now." And after Trump lost the election, Rhodes and Kelly Meggs (who heads the Oath Keepers' Florida chapter) declared that they would do whatever it took to keep him in the White House in 2021. In a December 19, 2020 Facebook post, Meggs wrote that he had formed an "alliance between Oath Keepers, Florida 3%ers (Three Percenters), and Proud Boys."

"We have decided to work together and shut this shit down," Meggs posted — and what he wanted to "shut down" was the certification of Biden's Electoral College victory over Trump in a joint session of Congress on January 6.

Trump, Carpenter stresses, railed against insurrection but had no problem with it when his "own supporters" were the insurrectionists.

"The fight that the self-appointed militia of Proud Boys and Oath Keepers apparently expected to have with Antifa on January 6 never materialized," Carpenter writes. "Ironically, their actions as part of the mob attack on the Capitol offered a defensible reason for invoking the Insurrection Act — but Donald Trump didn't invoke it against his own supporters…. Sixteen Oath Keepers have been charged with federal conspiracy, among other offenses, for their actions that day. Prosecutors have started discussing plea deals with some Oath Keeper members, which will presumably lead to more information about who else was involved in their activities."

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