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Clarification for Media: Oath Keepers Will NOT Be Going Armed into Cleveland During RNC or Assisting With Security There

media distortion

Attention all media personnel: As the Founder and National President of Oath Keepers, I  am hereby putting you on notice that the Oath Keepers organization has never had plans to go armed into Cleveland during the Republican National Convention (RNC), the Oath Keepers organization will not being going armed into Cleveland during the RNC, and we will not be conducting any armed security operations at any events in Cleveland during the RNC.

The media has recently been breathlessly but erroneously reporting that Oath Keepers will be going armed into Cleveland during the RNC this next next week, as we had gone armed to other events in the past, such as when we guarded businesses and apartments during the arson and looting in Ferguson, MO,* and then provided an armed escort for Inforwars reporters in Ferguson.

For example, the New York Times reported on July 11, 2016 that “One group made up of current and former members of the military called the Oath Keepers, who have shown up at other tense events heavily armed, say they again plan to carry weapons into Cleveland.

That was false.  We have never stated that we, as an organization, planned to carry weapons into Cleveland.   And we have no such plans.   Yesterday, July 15, 2016, I sent the New York Times an email demanding a correction of their story, and today they posted the following correction:

Correction: July 16, 2016

An article Tuesday about concerns over visitors and protesters taking firearms to downtown Cleveland during the Republican National Convention misstated the position of Oath Keepers, a group of current and former members of the military that has shown up at other tense events heavily armed. Members of the group said in online postings they would travel to Cleveland; the group itself did not say it plans to do so.

I request that all media who erroneously reported that we plan on going armed into Cleveland during the RNC make similar corrections to their stories to reflect the truth.

The reporter for the New York Times still insists that some of our members, somewhere online, said they were going to go armed into Cleveland, without providing any proof, but at least she now states that we as an org have no plans to do so.  That’s about the best we can expect, I suppose.

Now, it is true that on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 we did receive a request for assistance from the Bikers for Trump, who asked us to provide a tactical leadership team to help them supervise their biker security volunteers during a rally in a park near the RNC on Monday, July 18, 2016.  But that request came too late for our LEO and military security experts (lead by Missouri Oath Keepers leader John Karriman) to put together such a leadership team and plan such an operation, and we regretfully had to decline the request, as I explained in a comment I left on an article posted on the Citizens for Trump website.

oath keepers ferguson

John Karriman (on left wearing black Oath Keeper hat) leads Oath Keepers in Ferguson.

But even that consideration of a limited request for a leadership team, which we regretfully had to decline, does not constitute us planning to go armed into Cleveland.  I have to wonder why the leftist media, and the regime supporting attack dogs over at Southern Poverty Law Center, are so eager to tie us to imminent Charlie Foxtrot about to go down at the RNC in Cleveland.  What do they know that we don’t?

Stewart Rhodes

*  The Southern Poverty Law Center is now trying to rewrite history by saying that during the Ferguson riots, “Oath Keepers served as a private security force to protect white businesses from looting.”   The truth is that we guarded businesses owned by blacks (Natalie’s Cakes and More), Asians (Korean owned beauty supply and Asian owned Chinese restaurant), as well as whites (a white owned dental office).  Their color didn’t matter to us, as we protect all Americans, but since the left likes to focus so much on race, let’s make that clear.  And we also protected lives, not just property, since we protected the families of all colors who lived in apartments above those businesses –  men, women, and children – from the deadly threat of murder by arson.     And we didn’t ask the race of the people who lived there before deciding to protect them, because it was irrelevant to us.   But of course, the SPLC can’t tell the truth about us as that doesn’t fit their agenda.


Natalie, of Natalie’s Cakes and More, with young MARSOC Marine veteran “Nick”


Stewart Rhodes

Stewart is the founder and National President of Oath Keepers. He served as a U.S. Army paratrooper until disabled in a rough terrain parachuting accident during a night jump. He is a former firearms instructor, former member of Rep. Ron Paul’s DC staff, and served as a volunteer firefighter in Montana. Stewart previously wrote the monthly Enemy at the Gates column for S.W.A.T. Magazine. Stewart graduated from Yale Law School in 2004, where his paper “Solving the Puzzle of Enemy Combatant Status” won Yale’s Miller prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. He assisted teaching U.S. military history at Yale, was a Yale Research Scholar, and is writing a book on the dangers of applying the laws of war to the American people.



  1. Here is what I posted in the comments on the Citizens for Trump site:

    “Actually, Sheriff Mack mispoke. There was no actual vote of the Oath Keepers BOD, because I withdrew my motion. And the principle reason the Oath Keepers leadership decided not to go (and why I withdrew the motion) was that the request for tactical leadership and advisors from the Bikers for Trump came to us too late (Wed, 7/13) to provide that help in an effective manner up to the standards we expect of ourselves. Our experience LEO and military tactical operations experts told us it takes at least several weeks, or better, several months, to put together an effective tactical leadership team and prepare for such an operation, which would involve us supervising biker security volunteers in an extremely volatile situation.

    We truly regret not being able to help, and I personally very much wanted to go, and found it terribly frustrating not to, but I have to listen to my experienced military and LEO operators. Itis indeed a volatile situation, but we have been in those before, such as during civil unrest in Ferguson, MO (twice). Our men are more than willing to go in harms way, but it has to be done right, and in this case where the request was specifically for a tactical leadership team, our tactical leaders told us that they could not do it right on such short notice.

    We sincerely hope and pray that it goes smoothly, but Trump supporters should be prepared for the worst, and I would caution them to never go anywhere alone, as street thug communists and racist terrorists love to target lone individuals, as we saw in San Jose. Go in at least groups of four, and make sure that the more fit and physically capable among you link up with and escort the elderly and women present, so you can safegaurd them (as cowardly thugs will seek them out).

    I commend Chris Cox for what he has done with Bikers for Trump, and for being willing to step up and help keep your events safe, and again I regret and apologize for Oath Keepers not being able to send a tactical leadership team to help. But if we are needed in the future, where more notice is possible, just let us know and we will be there.

    God bless and Godspeed.

    Stewart Rhodes

    PS – Oath Keepers is non-partisan, and does not endorse candidates, but we considered this operation because no American, of whatever political party or in favor of any candidate should fear violence or the threat of violence while exercising their God given rights of free speech and assembly.”

  2. I also want to add that on a personal level, I am very disappointed and frustrated that we were unable to provide a tactical leadership team to assist the Bikers for Trump in their security operation. I wish that request had come sooner. John Karriman would have been the team leader, and was more than willing to go, which speaks well of him – he has shown by word and by deed on several occasions that he is a man of deep courage, integrity, and conviction – a “knight without armor” as the old Army infantry cadence put it. We are fortunate to have him in leadership in Missouri and to have his counsel and leadership at the national level as well.

    Let us keep the patriots who will be in Cleveland in our prayers. May God keep them safe in the days ahead. And in particular, may he give strength and courage to Chris Cox, of Bikers for Trump, and the men and women he will be leading there.

    As I said above, they need to be ready for the very worst, and they need to go in at least groups of four (groups of eight or more would be even better) anywhere they go in Cleveland. Street thugs are cowards and always seek easy victims.

    For the rest of us, get ready and get strong in your local communities. The “fourth generation warfare” assault on this Republic that we are now seeing kick into high gear will come to you too, eventually. Even if you live in some sleepy rural community far from any major city, it can and will come to you. Nothing stops some Marxist, racist radical or Jihadist from driving to your little town and unleashing the kind of horror we have already seen in San Bernardino, Orlando, or in France.

    Look at what one or two Jihadist did in each of those examples, with the latest being jihadists using a truck to kill over 80 in Nice, France.

    Imagine what just one maniac with an AK could do if he walks into your church service this Sunday, or into any small town social event, such as a fair, parade, music concert, rodeo, or festival. And like the nut in Nice, he could just use a truck.

    And then imagine a team of six or more maniacs in rifle plate body armor, with AKs, and what they could do.

    Take community security seriously. Do the following:

    1. Go armed at all times. Carry a handgun at all times, and enough ammo to fight multiple opponents. Look how many rounds the French police had to use to stop that truck.

    2. Carry a rifle in your truck with a suitable “terrorist interdiction bag” or chest rig. Please spare me the sermon on how you will never need a rifle, because you won’t be able to get to it in time anyway. Never say never. I am sure you can think of scenarios where you will have time, and you will need it. Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. And DO coordinate with your local police to the greatest extent possible on what you will be wearing (a sash, arm band, jacket you throw on) if you respond with rifle in hand to an active shooter threat. Coordinate and plan ahead.

    3. Reach out to your local police and offer your assistance in keeping your town and county secure. Do your best to get them on your side on this, and to take the threat seriously. Coordinate with them as best you possibly can, and one of the best ways to win them over is to make it clear that you are willing to put yourself in harms way to help them if needed. And offer to protect their family if ever threatened by some cop hating terrorist. Hearts and minds, hearts and minds …

    4. Form a neighborhood watch, with teeth. And do that even if your local police are not willing to coordinate even after you offer your help. You have a right to defend yourselves, period.

    5. Form a town watch, with teeth. Don’t try to call it the “Mayberry Oath Keepers Town Watch.” Just call it the “Mayberry Town Watch.” It’s about the town, not the org. Invite EVERYONE to participate. They all have something to contribute. Think logistics, medical, communications, transport, food, engineering, intelligence, etc. It’s not all about guns and ammo. And again, do try to bring the local police, fire-fighters, EMTs, Search and Rescue, etc onboard and make them part of this, but even if they refuse to see reality and refuse to take part, get it done.

    6. Work to develop and train church security teams, and security teams for all local social groups and associations (such as veteran halls, Elks Club, etc). Each of those associations need their own security team for their own events.

    7. Work to help train your local teachers and school staff in active shooter response and in emergency medical aid. Remember, no EMT is going in to give medical aid until the scene is safe, so it will fall to the staff, teachers, and even the students themselves to provide life saving medical aid during and immediately after a shooting.

    8. Establish a sheriff posse for your county under the direct leadership and authority of a constitutional sheriff. Make sure it is not just a small, ceremonial unit on horseback, as we see in many places, but a real, effective, armed unit made up of as many able bodied citizens in your county as you can get to join it. The more the better. Think in terms of what Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has with his 3,000 man posse, and strive for it to be as big and as strong as possible.

    9. Revitalize the militia. The final goal needs to be a true revitalization of the militia, which means all able-bodied patriotic citizens in your community (excluding racists, Jihadists, communists and others who hate freedom and hate our Constitution). I will post more on this soon. The above steps are a good start on the path to getting that done.

    Focus on local, and focus on physical security and logistics to ride out the storm that is now upon us.

      1. As a grandfather of 30 I cannot imagine what this family is going through at the hands of illegal immigrants that have no regard for human life let alone the rape of children. When are the good a desant people of this country going to come to the aid of their fellow citizens? I find it just as appalling that the community of Twin Falls has not come together to at least provide some sort of security to this family. Disgusting.

  3. spigot… I believe it is the policy of Oathkeepers to require a request from the victims before issuing any call to action. The victims would need to ask for help and our leadership would need to gather intel and develop a plan of action before any action could take place. We cant go off half cocked.
    Don’t quote me on that but I believe that is what would be needed. Cant just show up armed and conduct an operation without the blessings of the victims.
    Stewart….Please correct me if I am wrong or provide further input on the matter in your own professional words.

      1. Stewart,

        Have you been able to get any more info from our Oath Keepers in ID on this subject? Let me know if I can be any assistance to help this family with security. There is nothing I loth more that a child rapist and the parents that condone such things and more to the point encourage it.

  4. The Black Panthers are going to the RNC armed to the teeth. The Oath Keepers are scared to death of a real confrontation with a terrorist group that will defend its beliefs. The conservatives don’t have any groups with that kind of commitment.

    1. You just keep believing that. We didn’t go because we didn’t get the request for help in time to provide the effective leadership it would take to run such an operation.

      IF the Black Panthers open the door to full on combat in the streets, attacking other Americans to try to carve out their desired state within a state by force, they will get their asses handed to them in spectacular fashion by military veterans across the nation.

      1. But not by the Oath Keepers, you’re out classed as evidenced by your fear of them at the RNC. It’s sad that the terrorists can scare the crap out of you people.

      2. You needed a request for help? I wonder if the Black Panthers needed a request? Everyone else saw this coming months ago. Facebook is on fire with this story and you’ve lost credibility with the very people who used to support you. Tough talk no longer has merit when police are dying and civilians have no one with the guts to stand up to groups like the Black Panthers and BLM. Good luck getting your reputation back after this, maybe there’s some food banks that need help handing out supplies somewhere. You can get dressed up in your costumes and tell people if anything breaks out they’ll get their asses handed to them.

      3. Your foolish.

        Those that want to cause destruction never need an invite, particularly when there is a corrupt and treasonous bunch of people serving within our governments (at times those same scum issue invites months prior).

        But those that are standing for the US Constitution MUST do things lawfully – something I doubt you understand. That does not mean that they are not frustrated. It is frustrating, but it also is the safest for the people. If both the “good” and “bad” guys just do what they want, neither may be lawful. Why? Because laws are like brakes on a car, they are there for the sharp turns, steep hills, etc and they MUST be well taken care of so that they work properly.

        Hope that helps you to understand.

        God Bless and Stay Safe All!

        If there were never intended to be action to defend the Constitution from those who are domestically attempting to destroy its power and authority, why would each Oath require it of those who take the Oaths?

        Chief Tecumseh: “When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

      4. Very true. Some of us have been training hard and training others including law enforcement. We are pro-Constitution and want to avoid anarchy if at all possible. I’m former Army and have gone well beyond any training I had then. In the last 6 years I’ve become a CRO(chief range officer) and Match Director at a serious USPSA club. You have no idea how many people show up recently to prepare for what they hope is not coming. Many military and police here are Oath Keepers and are highly skilled. I’m an A class shooter which means even at 64 years old I’m in the top 10%. So yes we are still capable but not anarchists like BLM or the Panthers.

      5. If the Bikers could amass so could you. I hope and pray your word is good because the Black Lives Matter are in bed with the black panthers and they are wreaking havoc around our country and no one does anything…and cops get killed!! I understand we don’t want martial law, but we don’t want dead Americans either. We are looking to our veterans, our ex-military, our police those who are trained to help protect us. As for our parts, some of us are Paul Revere’s, some of us are Thomas Jefferson’s and some of us are supposed to be John Paul Jone’s. Well, if you need a request to muster…we’ve seen the whites of their eyes!

      6. Did you read what I wrote above? We got a request, but it came too late for us to provide an effective leadership team, which is what they wanted. As I said above, I have to listen to our very experienced police and military veterans when they tell me it is too late to do it effectively, according to their own standards of professionalism. And that included SGM Joseph Santoro, our National Operations NCO, and John Karriman, Missouri Police Academy instructor, and one of our team leads in Ferguson. You really don’t want to question either man’s honor or courage, and you should respect their judgment.

        We just got off the phone with our Louisiana Oath Keepers leadership, and we will be offering to directly back up the Baton Rouge PD and Sheriff’s Office, as well as all other Louisiana peace officers.

        We will also be doing the same nationwide, as part of our Operation Backstop, which was started by our SC chapter, but is now going national.

        So, yes, we are stepping up right now to fight these terrorists. Let’s see if you do likewise.


    2. Nunia, for that to even cross your mind and then putting it in writing for US and the rest of the world to read, just shows you have no idea who the Oath Keepers are.

  5. FlajarHead…Roger that…!!! Nunia has seen fit to grace us with his stupidity three times so far on this subject..Hot heads can not prevail.

  6. I want to get your guys’ opinion on the head of Cleveland police union asking Kasich to suspend people’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms? *If* you were prepared to attend (I understand you’re not at this time) would this have affected that decision?

    1. There is no way we would ever stand with any PD or Sheriff office that was part of violating the right to keep and bear arms like that. We cannot. And likewise for any mayor or governor, or state police. So long as they respect the Constitution we will back them up and put ourselves in direct harms way with them, but if they violate the Bill of Rights, then we will oppose them.

      I hear that the Governor, to his credit, told them “No.”

      Police in this nation need to understand that their credibility is now at an all-time low in the eyes of millions of Americans, and not just black Americans. I know many veterans of every race and geographic background who do not trust police, dislike police, and even hate all police, because of the abuse they have seen or personally experienced.

      Police need to realize just what a weak and dangerous situation they are in. The good will of the American people, and especially of the warrior class in the military and veterans, is about used up. If they react to these cop killers by trying to violate the right to bear arms or to assemble of the rest of us, they will piss away the little good will left.

      I invite them to take a look at the comments left by military veterans at Western Rifle Shooters on any of the posts about these attacks on police. These are not communists, and in fact they are preparing to kick communist butt, as well as jihadist butt, but they are still very hostile to police, to put it mildly.

      Reading those comments will alert police to the fact that many combat veterans consider police to be as much the enemy as the communists and the jihadists, especially in the current political environment when all three groups are seen as willing proxies of the Constitution-killing national regime. And don’t kid yourselves into thinking that this opinion is shared by only a few “extremists” online. Those comments are the mere tip of the iceberg.

      Police need to understand that the attacks on them so far are a walk in the park compared to what it would be like if the really experienced combat veterans started to target them.

      They MUST NOT violate the Constitution or enforce any form of “martial law” in response to these attacks or they will just make it exponentially worse.

      Right now, they have the sympathy of many military veterans, but they will lose that if they react by further violating the Constitution. What they need to do instead is clean up their act, police their own to get rid of the bad apples, and accept the help of military veterans in countering this threat. In other words, they need to unite with the patriotic American veterans and gun owners and work together, while respecting the Constitution. Anything else will lead to disaster for the police.

      When they lose the good will of the people, they will have no safety and no shelter, and no MRAP, no robot or drone, no military equipment of any kind, and no emergency decrees will keep them safe. Our Constitution is off the table and non-negotiable.

      What is on the table is police accepting our help, but within the bounds of the Constitution. That is their only safe course.

      Please don’t take that as a threat from me. Instead, take it in the spirit of a friendly warning, like when you are at a bar, and have had a few too many, and you’re about to start a fight with some grizzled old biker in a ratty leather vest with a flying skull on the back, and your friend whispers in your ear that you are about to commit suicide by starting a fight with a Hell’s Angel, and there is a table full of them right over there …. It’s like that.


  7. Stewart, good points. I thought I was alone out there wondering what the hell was happening with some cops. Not all are bad but we are seeing some of the worst. Have many friend sthat are LE and they can’t figure what’s going on either.
    Between steroid abuse by cops and terrible training it is a cancer unleashed upon the citizenry. Seeing way to many citizens being abused and shot like dogs for non violent offenses like Freddie Gray being hurt /killed for “running while black” and Garner for selling “loose cigarettes”. There’s no doubt that some cops enjoy the power and “qualified immunity” that allows them to use force and take life for the state. Good cops have got to call out the bad cops. There is no honor in the thin blue lie. I meant that just like I spelled it LIE. Call out the criminals on the force.
    The bad part is the good cops are being shot for nothing and the bad cops stay on the force causing more harm. That thin blue lie needs to change and change quick.
    This is also an effort by the crooks in govt to condition us to a militarized police state- now a push to federalize all police depts and will be more call to outlaw guns.body armor, etc. We ain’t seen nothing yet.
    The next few days will be very interesting and I hope nothing happens. Seems that it will though. way too much chatter out there …..

  8. “Street thugs are cowards and always seek easy victims.”<—This is predatory by nature. Its symbiotic name is "Parasitic," which Progressives are by nature….That and well honed liars.

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