Republicans at President Donald Trump’s rally in Minneapolis on Thursday will reportedly be escorted by a sometimes closely armed group that has been referred to as “one of the largest radical anti-government groups in the U.S. today.”
That is how the Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Oath Keepers, who consult with themselves as “guardians of the republic.” On the group’s web site, it describes itself as a “non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to ‘defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.'”
The Oath Keepers posted an alert on their website on Saturday stating volunteers have been wanted to “protect Trump supporters” at Trump’s rally.
“The violent communists of Antifa have issued a national call to action for Antifa and other radical, America hating leftists to converge on the upcoming Trump rally in Minneapolis on Oct 10 to ‘disrupt’ the Trump rally with an Antifa black block ‘America is Canceled’ protest against capitalism,” the alert states. “We also expect trouble from the same radical leftists in Minneapolis that assaulted Trump supporters in 2016.”
Oath Keepers plan to offer volunteer safety escorts for Trump rally attendees to and from the Target Center.
“This is a matter of duty and honor,” the alert states. “We need to protect them and we need you to step up and help us. If we don’t protect them, who will? And if you don’t help us, who will?”
But the group’s historical past is just not the cleanest. The president of Oath Keepers’ suburban Cleveland chapter acquired a jail sentence for storing bombs, and one other member was convicted of raping his daughter, in response to City Pages, an alternate Minneapolis-area newspaper. Oath Keepers confirmed up closely armed at protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
Oath Keepers shaped in 2009 after Barack Obama was elected president. They declare they are going to vet the rally volunteers and reject convicted felons and anybody who “advocates the overthrow of the U.S. government or that discriminates along racial lines.”
Even earlier than it has began, Trump’s Minneapolis rally has spawned political clashes. The metropolis’s liberal mayor banned cops from sporting uniforms at Trump’s rally, and the cops union responded by making purple “Cops For Trump” T-shirts to put on as an alternative.
“We’ll turn the place into a sea of red with these shirts we designed,” the cops’ union chief Lieutenant Bob Kroll stated on Fox News. “They’re available, and we can’t keep them on the shelves. They’ve been selling out as fast as they come in.”