Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar is continuing to neither confirm nor deny claims that he met with members of the far-right group Oath Keepers and told them the country is in a civil war but people “haven’t started shooting” yet.
Gosar is already under fire over his alleged ties to the extremist group in the wake of the January attack on the Capitol, which members of the Oath Keepers were a part of.
The Oath Keepers are an armed and fiercely anti-government militia group who are reported to have tens of thousands of members, mainly consisting of current and former law enforcement and military personnel.
The New York Times first revealed in January that Jim Arroyo, a leading member of the Yavapai County chapter of the Oath Keepers, posted a video on YouTube on November 22, 2020, claiming Gosar came to one of their meetings and supported the group’s calls for a war in the country.
“We did a meeting a couple of years ago where our elected representative from Washington, Paul Gosar, came out and we asked him flat out at that time, ‘Do you think we’re heading into a civil war?'” Arroyo said.
“And his response was just flat out, ‘We’re in it. We just haven’t started shooting at each other yet.'”
The video does not specify exactly when Gosar allegedly made the comments. It was posted online in the weeks after the election while Donald Trump was continually spouting baseless claims that he lost to Joe Biden because of widespread voter fraud.
Less than two months later, Trump supporters and far-right extremists stormed the Capitol in an attack which left five people dead, including a police officer.
Members of Gosar‘s own family later called for him to be expelled from Congress for allegedly helping to plan the insurrection and his links to “Stop the Steal” campaigns to overturn the election results.
The New York Times article described how “few Republicans have been more linked to extremist groups” than Gosar.
“He’s been involved with anti-Muslim groups and hate groups,” his brother Dave Gosar told The Times. “He’s made anti-Semitic diatribes. He’s twisted up so tight with the Oath Keepers it’s not even funny.”
Details around Gosar‘s ties to the Oath Keepers were discussed once more last week in a report by Arizona news channel ABC 15.
The report detailing the apparent rise of the Oath Keepers and their role in the Capitol attack once again mentions the November clip of Arroyo discussing a potential civil war.
Gosar did not respond to requests for comments from The Times in January or ABC 15 for their report last week. Gosar‘s office also did not respond to further repeated calls for comment on the alleged civil war comment from Newsweek.
On Friday, February 19, six people with ties to the Oath Keepers were charged for allegedly storming the Capitol and conspiring to obstruct Congress’s certification of the election results.
Graydon Young, 54, of Englewood, Florida, Kelly Meggs, 52, and Connie Meggs, 59, both of Dunnellon, Florida, Laura Steele, 52, of Thomasville, North Carolina, Bennie Parker, 70, and his wife Sandra Parker, 60, both of Morrow, Ohio, are accused of joining up with three other Oath Keepers members in Washington D.C. on January 6.
They are alleged to have all worn paramilitary gear and formed a “stack” formation before marching up the center steps on the east side of the Capitol and storming the building.