By Sara Kamali
During his testimony before congressional investigators, former Oath Keepers spokesman Jason Van Tatenhove left little doubt about the intentions of the white nationalist militia group when its members stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Tatenhove explained that Jan. 6 “could have been a spark that started a new civil war.”
“We need to quit mincing words and just talk about truths,” Tatenhove said, “and what it was going to be was an armed revolution.”
During its seventh hearing on July 12, 2022, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol connected the dots between white nationalists and key allies of former President Donald Trump and their concerted efforts to overturn the 2020 election by interrupting the counting of Electoral College votes and inserting fake electors.
The committee hearings focused on the the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and their white nationalist allies within the Republican Party, including Trump.
In my book “Homegrown Hate: Why White Nationalists and Militant Islamists Are Waging War against the United States,”, I detailed the history, beliefs, groups and manifestos of white nationalists in the United States and around the world, including the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, Three Percenters and many of the other individuals and groups that attempted a collective coup on Jan. 6, 2021.
As I explore in my book, white nationalists believe that white people and identity are under attack worldwide by immigrants, people of color and, increasingly, progressives and liberals who do not share their racist, religious, anti-government beliefs or conspiracy theories.
I also discuss the goal of white nationalists around the world to reclaim land as a white state governed and inhabited by white people only.
Law enforcement warnings
Several U.S. law enforcement agencies have characterized the Proud Boys as “white supremacists” and “extremists.”
The Proud Boys leader, Enrique Tarrio, cites his Afro-Cuban roots and brown skin color as reasons why he can’t be a white nationalist.
Co-founded by Gavin McInnes in 2016, the Proud Boys have participated in events with white nationalists since the group’s inception, including the Unite the Right march in 2017 and the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol.
Tarrio was arrested two days before Jan. 6 in Washington on charges stemming from his involvement in vandalizing a Black church and burning a Black Lives Matter banner during a violent Dec. 12, 2021, protest in Washington.
While Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes publicly claims that he has Mexican and Apache heritage, the Oath Keepers have consistently taken stances that are racist and have warned of an impending civil war in the United States.
In December 2018, the Oath Keepers website advertised a call to action for a “Border Operation” that encouraged paramilitary activity to prevent the “invasion” of “illegals” into the country and to provide “security for border ranches and families.”
This anti-immigration sentiment and warlike imagery were also found in the Trump White House.
The Southern Poverty Law Center details a series of emails sent to the conservative website Breitbart by Stephen Miller, who became a senior policy adviser in the Trump administration.
The emails promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols.
Miller’s white nationalist ideology was at the heart of some of Trump’s most controversial policies, such as setting arrest quotas for undocumented immigrants, an executive order effectively banning immigration from five Muslim-majority countries and a policy of family separation at refugee resettlement facilities.
White nationalist GOP members
Shortly after the Buffalo supermarket shooting, where a self-avowed white supremacist allegedly shot and killed 10 black people to prevent, in his words, “eliminating the white race,” Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming blasted her Republican colleagues.
“The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism,” Cheney wrote in a tweet. “History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse.”
Cheney, who is also co-chair of the Jan. 6 congressional select committee, then went a step further, calling on Republican leaders to “renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.”
Though Republican leaders like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana have denounced white supremacy, several prominent Republicans still maintain ties to white nationalist groups.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, former Republican congressman Steve King, who represented Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2003 to 2021, is scheduled to attend the annual American Renaissance meeting in November 2022. People may remember King for wondering aloud in 2019 when the term “white supremacist” became offensive.
Started by racist idealogue Jared Taylor in 1994, American Renaissance is a website that promotes “racial differences,” and its annual meetings are a haven for neo-Nazis and white nationalists.
Also scheduled to speak there is GOP congressional candidate Laura Loomer of Florida, a self-described “#ProudIslamophobe” who stands for “pro-white nationalism.”
Such appearances at white nationalist gatherings by Republican legislators have drawn criticism from GOP leaders and are a potential political liability as midterm elections are taking place.
In February 2022, for instance, GOP Congressmen Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona spoke at the far-right America First Political Action Conference.
The event was organized by Nicholas Fuentes, a white nationalist activist who gained national prominence after he attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
GOP leaders quickly denounced them for speaking at the gathering.
But Greene said she had no regrets.
Whither the GOP?
Though GOP leaders deny claims of white supremacy and extremism within their party, their actions tell another story.
On July 11, 2022, Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have authorized federal agencies to monitor domestic terrorism within the U.S., including incidents involving white supremacy.
Called the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, the bill fell short of the 60 senators needed to move it forward in Congress, as the vote was 47-47 and divided along party lines.
More troubling is the allure of the white nationalist platform to elected officials and voters. Many successful local, state and federal elections in 2020 centered on perpetuating the Big Lie, the conspiracy theory embraced by many white nationalists that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
Frank Eathorne is the chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party and a member of the Oath Keepers.
As such, Eathorne is one of the more influential Republican officials in the country as he is presiding over arguably the GOP’s highest-profile primary battle of the 2022 election: unseating Cheney for her relentless criticism of former Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.
In February 2021, Eathorne supported a successful effort by the Wyoming GOP to formally censure Cheney. In November, he presided over another successful vote to no longer recognize Cheney as a member of the Republican Party.
Not surpisingly, Eathorne is supporting attorney Harriet Hageman in her primary challenge against Cheney. As is House Minority Leader McCarthy.
Republican pushback against claims that the party has been infiltrated by white nationalists was made clear during a January 2021 meeting of the Grand Traverse County (Michigan) Board of Commissioners.
Keli MacIntosh, a 72-year-old retired nurse and regular attendee of board meetings, asked the board to denounce the Proud Boys after some of its members were allowed to speak on their opposition to gun control.
As MacIntosh was speaking, Board Vice Chair Ron Clous got up, left the meeting, and returned with a large rifle.
Clous held the rifle to his chest for a moment and then placed it on his desk for the remainder of the meeting.
The January 6th hearings are making clear that American democracy is increasingly threatened by white nationalists in the Republican Party who are determined to perpetuate disinformation about the 2020 presidential election in order to hold onto power through the same system they deem illegitimate.
Sara Kamali is an Author and Research Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies, University of California Santa Barbara.
The Conversation arose out of deep-seated concerns for the fading quality of our public discourse and recognition of the vital role that academic experts could play in the public arena. Information has always been essential to democracy. It’s a societal good, like clean water. But many now find it difficult to put their trust in the media and experts who have spent years researching a topic. Instead, they listen to those who have the loudest voices. Those uninformed views are amplified by social media networks that reward those who spark outrage instead of insight or thoughtful discussion. The Conversation seeks to be part of the solution to this problem, to raise up the voices of true experts and to make their knowledge available to everyone. The Conversation publishes nightly at 9 p.m. on FlaglerLive.
There were more guns at any given BLM Protest (Kenosha, WI in particular) than there was in the Capitol. How many guns did they find on anyone that breached the Capitol. DC Police were the only armed persons in the Capitol with superior firepower to even a pointed flagpole that weirdo brought to the party, it was the lamest insurrection ever.. Let’s not think that 700 or whatever that were in the Capitol was a sufficient force to overthrow the US Government. At best they disrupted a vote count that could’ve been performed remotely. I don’t doubt there are guns in DC, but the fact they found none, none were brandished, at best we have a situation of CCWP at best, illegal CCW at worst. Too much drama with this already, that it’s nothing more than a tool to go after Trump individually really. It’s actually becoming even more pathetic than it ever was. Pelosi’s husband was a bigger threat to anyone on the road for his DUI cover up than the overzealous mob at the Capitol.
Deborah Coffey says
I’m not going to allow you to come on here and LIE and not call you out. You don’t WANT truth. Or, you can’t tell the difference between a FACT and a LIE. Let me help you out: https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2022/07/08/jan6-defendants-guns/
G A says
I hope against hope that the Cult of the Orange Delusional has been watching these hearings. I also do not doubt that they sit there, beer in hand, slamming the coffee table for emphasis as they shout to the walls that the hearings are all fake news, nothing burgers, revenge against their beloved orange cult leader. Still, I hope …that little by little, they are beginning to see crumbs of reason and truth just the same. I hope they are finally beginning to see all those judges found a stolen election story to be fake news. All the close REPUBLICAN White House staff and even REPUBLICAN friends of Trump who told Trump over and over ad infinitim that he LOST, are now disgusted with their own gullibility for aligning with him, struggle now to tell the world how they had believed him only to be used. I hope all the testimonies under oath by dozens of close REPUBLICAN associates might sway them. The list of Trump “woke” grows daily. I hope his base is listening.
Young Black’s are shot in traffic stops, terrorist invading the Capitol are welcomed and treated by the Trump crowd as hero’s. Something wrong here. Everyone who entered the restricted areas should have been shot dead. That would have put the insurrection down immediately and prevented any reoccurrence by Trump.
An armed revolution….really – because NONE of the January 6th “insurrectionists” were actually armed. Pretty nonsensical headline. Were wearing our agenda, platform and credibility out by dragging this out desperately to the midterms when its a giant nothing burger. This doesn’t end any more dramatically than what Rudy G did, or Hunter Biden OR Hillary or whacko-bannon.
@protonbeam. . . You’ve been fact checked and you are wrong. . . as is tucker carlson. . . there were “armed” insurrectionists:
PolitiFact reviewed the case files for hundreds of defendants who were arrested and charged for their actions at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and found several defendants who police say were found to have brought firearms. Some were charged with having firearms on Capitol grounds while others stashed them nearby:
Lonnie Coffman of Alabama was found with multiple weapons in his vehicle and on his person. Coffman’s truck, which he had parked in the vicinity of the Capitol on the morning of Jan. 6, was packed with weaponry, including a handgun, a rifle and a shotgun, each loaded, according to court documents. Also, the truck held hundreds of rounds of ammunition, several large-capacity ammunition feeding devices, a crossbow with bolts, machetes, camouflage smoke devices, a stun gun and 11 Molotov cocktails. When Coffman was detained, questioned and searched, police found two more handguns on his person. None of the weapons were registered, documents state. Coffman pleaded guilty and was sentenced in April to 46 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Guy Reffitt of Texas was charged with bringing a handgun onto Capitol grounds. Court documents showed that Reffitt, reported to be a member of the Three Percenters militia group, told his family he brought his gun with him and that he and others “stormed the Capitol.” A jury found Reffitt guilty of five felony charges in March, and he remains detained pending sentencing.
Christopher Michael Alberts of Maryland also brought his handgun onto Capitol grounds. An officer saw that Alberts had a gun on his hip and alerted fellow officers. When Alberts tried to flee, officers detained him and recovered the loaded handgun, along with a separate magazine. He has been indicted on ten felony counts.
Deborah Coffey says
One certainly hopes your comment is sarcasm…”because NONE of the January 6th “insurrectionists” were actually armed. Otherwise, we all need to wonder if you live under a rock? https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2022/07/08/jan6-defendants-guns/
Let us not forget that right here in Flagler County, we had uniformed law enforcement instructing “Stop the Steal” activists in tactical manoeuvres, use of tactical gear and use of chemical irritants. All this was in preparation for anticipated but non-existent attacks by Antifa and BLM in the DC area. Indeed, we had local officials suggest that the events of January 6 were not perpetrated by Trump supporters at all but by agents provocateurs sent by “communist liberals.”
Deborah Coffey says
Is this true? If it is, I think it should be reported to the FBI stat.
If I remember correctly, the only people “armed” at the protest, were the Capitol Police.
The only person “shot and killed”, was a protester.
The Capitol Policeman, has never been charged, or reprimanded.
The commenter, who frequently makes false statements, remembers incorrectly. Fact-checking services have proven that it protesters were armed with firearms and other weapons–here, here, here and here, for example. Anyone who continues to make these false claims will be banned.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of citizens right here in Flagler County who are not watching these hearings. They don’t realize that the sworn in testifiers are Republicans that were present when the insurrection was being planned, and being carried out.
We are not the same country we were when people actually wanted to know what was happening. We had real journalists like Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, Edward R. Murrow and others who investigated and reported the facts unlike today’s low IQ garbage spewers on Fox Entertainment.
It’s sad, but the “Christian” nationalists (not really Christians) are gaining ground. Then there are those who are jumping on the occult bandwagon because it works, and they keep their constituents in the dark with repeated fabrications: witch hunt, witch hunt, witch hunt. Today’s Republicans do not realize just how much they are being manipulated. While watching people speak, who are running for Flagler County Commission, one came up with gas prices and inflation. Just how is he going to reduce the world’s gas prices and inflation as a county commissioner? One woman running for the school board had no experience, but she came up with all the sound bites of parental control. Just pushing your buttons, folks, pushing your buttons and you respond. It works.
If you think it’s “nothing” or “no big deal,” then just for shits and grins, watch all of the hearings on YouTube. Can’t hurt you, can it? Just to see what others are watching. See if the dots are connecting or not.
P.S. We’re not discussing Biden or Pelosi in this thread, so nix that distraction.