Wendy Long, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in New York, spoke on Saturday to the state chapter of Oath Keepers, a radical anti-government group whose founder has called for the execution of Republican Sen. John McCain.
At the New York Oath Keepers event, Long thanked Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes “for founding this whole organization” and appealed to her audience by declaring that Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democrat whom she is hoping to unseat, is “one of the greatest enemies of the Constitution.”
“I am running against one of the greatest enemies of the Constitution, Chuck Schumer, in the United States Senate,” she said. “He’s an enemy not only of the Second Amendment — which, you know, everyone knows he’s the face of the anti-Second Amendment movement, which, by the way, is in great peril.”
Mentioning the recent Ninth Circuit ruling on concealed firearms, Long said, “The Second Amendment’s in great danger, as is the rest of the Constitution, as you all know.”
As it happens, Schumer was named at the event as one of the group’s “dirty dozen” of “great Marxist traitors in America.”
Long is the former leader of the Judicial Confirmation Network, a right-wing advocacy group that pushed for the confirmation of conservative judicial nominees during the Bush administration. The group is now called the Judicial Crisis Network and is leading the effort to obstruct President Obama's Supreme Court nominee.
As the Southern Poverty Law Center has explained, the “core idea” of the Oath Keepers “is that its members vow to forever support the oaths they took on joining law enforcement or the military to defend the Constitution.” But the reality of the organization is a constant stream of conspiracy theories feeding the idea that the federal government is out to get ordinary citizens and can only be stopped by armed Oath Keepers who answer directly the Constitution (or their interpretation of it).
As we wrote last month, “Rhodes, the group’s founder, regularly turns to the far-right media to promote conspiracy theories about a coming civil war in which the federal government will use some combination of race war, Jade Helm 15, gun laws, Ebola ,death camps, Black Lives Matter and radical Islamists to subdue an unarmed and unprepared population.”
The Oath Keepers were a major player in the Bundy Ranch standoff in 2014, which Rhodes said afterward nearly “kicked off a civil war” between armed militias and the federal government. Last year, Rhodes said at an event in Arizona that McCain should be tried for treason and “hung by the neck until dead” for going “along with the program of the destruction of this country.”
Also speaking at the New York event was Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, a rising star in the conservative media, who accepted a Leadership Award from the group. Clarke, seemingly taking a page from Donald Trump, began his speech with several minutes of haranguing the media in attendance, to the delight of his audience, before saying that he would do “everything I can” to get Trump elected. He slammed Black Lives Matter as a “hate group” while comparing groups like the Oath Keepers to the Founding Fathers: “The Founding Fathers of this great nation were also once dubbed as a dangerous ‘Patriot group’ by the crown after they declared their independence.”
Rhodes also spoke, repeating his frequent warning that America is being “divided and conquered on racial lines” in a deliberate liberal attempt to undermine the country. John Faso, a former state assembly minority leader who is now running for a U.S. House seat, also spoke to the group.