Capitol Riot

Former Spokesman Says Oath Keepers Is a Dangerous Militia

Jason Van Tatenhove broke with group over Holocaust denial

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Jason Van Tatenhove, the former spokesman for the Oath Keepers, called the organization a dangerous militia that he broke ties with when he heard core members denying that the Holocaust had occurred.

“I think the best illustration for what the Oath Keepers are happened on Jan. 6 when we saw the stacked military formation going up the stairs of our Capitol,” he said in testimony before the House committee investigating the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. 

The group became more radicalized as its founder, Stewart Rhodes, courted white nationalists and racists, Van Tatenhove said.

The committee has been probing whether extremist groups such as the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys coordinated with allies in the White House before the violence erupted at the Capitol.

Van Tatenhove said he probably should have left the group before he did. He realized he could no longer work for it when he walked into a grocery store in a remote Montana town where Oath Keepers members were discussing the Holocaust.

“They were talking about how the Holocaust as not real,” he said. 

He said that on Jan. 6, the country saw a glimpse of the Oath Keepers’ vision for the country.

“It doesn’t necessary include the rule of law,” he said. “It includes violence. It includes trying to get their way through lies, through deceit, through intimidation and through the perpetration of violence, the swaying of people who might not know better.” 

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