The adult children of the accused of the Capitol riot Elmer Stewart Rhodesa leader of the far-right radical group Oath Keepers, says their militiaman father was “very critical” of former President Donald Trump early in his presidency.
“He was going to publish an open letter to the Trump school on the Constitution,” Rhodes’ son, Dakota Adams, told the Southern Poverty Law Center. Hatewatch in an exclusive interview.
The image that Adams and his two sisters paint of their father in these early days is a far cry from the anti-government activist accused of overseeing a strategic plot to besiege the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an attempt to prevent certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.
When the recipient of the phone call refused to put him in touch with Trump, Rhodes allegedly told a group of fellow Oath Keepers, “I just want to fight.”
While Rhodes’ feelings for the controversial Republican president may have changed dramatically in four years, his children say he has always had a penchant for violence.
In a February interview with Hatewatch, a Southern Poverty Law Center blog that monitors far-right extremism, Dakota Adams, 24, Sedona Adams, 23, and Sequoia Adams, 19, described the long-term abuse which they say they suffered at the hands of their father. , who founded the Oath Keepers in 2009.
After years of alleged domestic abuse, Rhodes’ wife Tasha Adams and their six children escaped from the home in 2018. The adult children described a sense of dread in the days leading up to their departure, claiming that they were convinced that Rhodes would “kill us all”, if they were still at home when their mother’s divorce papers were issued.
“We felt like we were running for our lives,” Sequoia said.
“I was afraid that whatever animals were left behind he would put them down,” Sedona told the outlet.
A former Yale-educated lawyer, Rhodes has long been fascinated by freedom, revolution and anti-government movements, his children said. The children were all homeschooled, and Sequoia said she never received a birth certificate.
According to his children, Rhodes, who once felt it his duty to teach Trump about American law, began to change his mind about the leader amid growing fears that a Democratic president does not “create a political cover” for the FBI to arrest and charge him. the role he and his oath keepers played in Showdown at Bundy’s Ranch in 2014, which saw anti-government supporters clash with law enforcement over a land dispute.
“It’s hilarious because that’s basically what Stewart ended up doing,” Dakota told Hatewatch. “On January 6, everything was falling apart for him, he was afraid of going to prison, so he decided to double down.”
Rhodes’ attorneys did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. Rhodes remains in jail awaiting trial in the fall.