'I fear the next election cycle': Former Oath Keepers spokesman warns against violent extremism
According to ABC News, more than 20 of the people facing charges in connection with the January 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building “have alleged ties to the Oath Keepers.” But one person who has long since distanced himself from the far-right militia group is Jason Van Tatenhove. Formerly an Oath Keepers spokesman, the 47-year-old Colorado resident is now warning against the dangers of far-right extremism.
Van Tatenhove is featured in ABC News’ new documentary “Homegrown: Standoff to Rebellion,” which is available on Hulu. During an ABC News interview, he said of his past, “I was wrong. I’ve grown, I’ve evolved.” And he is worried about the possibility of violence in future U.S. elections.
The ex-Oath Keeper, who left the group in 2018, told ABC News, “I fear the next election cycle. We've got to start talking to one another — not with guns, and not with body armor (or) standoffs, but just talking.”
Van Tatenhove joined the Oath Keepers in 2014, and in 2015, he was a very vocal and outspoken supporter. But he started to have issues with the Oath Keepers when their leadership supported Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk and Christian fundamentalist who was arrested for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
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“There are a lot of queer folk in my family,” Van Tatenhove told ABC News.
Van Tatenhove’s disenchantment with the Oath Keepers, according to ABC News’ Mike Levine, grew when they allied themselves with White nationalist Richard Spencer — and later, he heard “a denial of the Holocaust” during a “casual conversation” among some Oath Keepers.
“That, to me, was absolutely the last straw,” Van Tatenhove told ABC News. “I had to just turn and walk away.”
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