Broken oaths: Stewart Rhodes' estranged Montana family reflects on militia life

MICAH DREW Flathead Beacon

KALISPELL — On Jan. 6, 2021, Tasha Adams watched on social media as a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

Almost reflexively, she wondered what role the father of her six children had played in the attack.

“I knew leading up to it he’d be involved, but I wasn’t sure how involved,” Adams said in a recent interview with the Flathead Beacon.

“Then I saw the photo of the ‘stack’ going up the steps, and I thought, ‘oh boy, this is Oath Keepers,’” she added, describing the military-style formation the mob employed to breach the building. “Nobody else does that.”

Adams owes her familiarity with the Oath Keepers’ signature tactical strategies to her now-dissolved marriage to the group’s founder and leader, Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, whose far-right, anti-government militia was based in northwest Montana for nearly a decade, starting in 2011, a period during which the couple raised a family here, even as the organization expanded and new chapters developed nationwide, culminating in a membership of more than 38,000 followers.

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