Don’t be fooled by the marketing being deployed by Oath Keepers, a self-described “non-partisan” militia group set to attend President Trump’s rally in Dallas on Thursday.
Last week, the militia-group vowed to “defend Trump supporters” and accused Beto O’Rourke– who will hold a “rally against fear” in Dallas the same day– of inciting violence against Texans.
“We are there to do what the police will not do which is to provide escorts back to vehicles for Trump supporters,” Oath Keepers said of their planned presence in Dallas. Dallas Police told the Dallas Morning News that questions over the group’s presence at the rally should be referred to the Secret Service.
For the purposes of recruitment, Oath Keepers has long presented itself as a “nonpartisan,” apolitical militia. In reality, the militia-group attracts far-right, extremist elements who exclusively direct their anger toward the left.
“While [Oath Keepers] claims only to be defending the Constitution, the entire organization is based on a set of baseless conspiracy theories about the federal government working to destroy the liberties of Americans,” wrote the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that tracks hate groups. Another similar group that reports on hate groups, the Anti-Defamation League, described Oath Keepers as an anti-government extremist group that recruits members of the military and police.
Thursday’s Dallas rally isn’t the first time Oath Keepers have shown up as muscle to Trump events. The group has been organizing and recruiting off similar Trump rallies this year, including a rally in Minneapolis last week and another in El Paso in February.
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org