Texas GOP chair shares rally stage with leader of Oath Keepers militia

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Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes is under investigation by the FBI for his words and actions before, on, and after Jan. 6.

Allen West, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, appeared on March 26 at an anti-immigration rally on the same stage as Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the right-wing Oath Keepers militia.

The Oath Keepers are currently under investigation for involvement in the Jan. 6 attack by Trump supporters on the U.S. Capitol.

West was the kickoff speaker for a "We The People Stand For Border Security" rally held in Laredo, Texas. In his speech, West attacked President Joe Biden on the topic of immigration, falsely claiming that Biden had changed U.S. policy to allow "open borders" between the United States and Mexico.

West's speech echoed claims against Biden made by congressional Republicans and by extremist hate groups.

After West spoke, Rhodes took the stage and immediately launched into a series of falsehoods about the 2020 presidential election.

"We are facing a communist overthrow of our nation, and this is a fact," Rhodes said. "You now have a foreign power, the Chinese and the globalists, who have installed — illegitimately installed — their puppet, the Chicom puppet Biden, through a stolen election."

Rhodes called Biden an "illegitimate impostor" and "the impostor in chief, not the president of the United States" and insisted that Trump is "the duly elected president."

Later in his speech, Rhodes complained about ongoing investigations into the role he, the Oath Keepers, and the Proud Boys played in the riot at the Capitol. He described the two right-wing groups as the subjects of a "persecution campaign."

The Oath Keepers, founded in 2009, are described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as "one of the largest radical antigovernment organizations in the United States."

The New York Times, citing court documents and a law enforcement official, reported in early March that Rhodes is under investigation by the FBI and federal prosecutors for his words and actions before, on, and after Jan. 6.

"While the inquiry is in its nascent stages, the official said, its existence shows that investigators appear to be targeting the senior leadership of the paramilitary group that Mr. Rhodes has run for more than a decade," the Times noted.

West, who has a history of making Islamophobic, racist, antisemitic, and misogynistic comments, served two years representing Florida's 22nd Congressional District in the House of Representatives. He is an Army veteran who reached the rank of lieutenant colonel and battalion commander before he was stripped of his command and allowed to retire in 2003 after pleading guilty to assaulting a detainee in Iraq and threatening to kill him.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.