Ross: ‘Take the blinders off,’ former Trump supporter says in Jan 6 hearing

Jul 13, 2022, 7:11 AM
Photo by Demetrius Freeman...
Photo by Demetrius Freeman

Yesterday, the January 6 committee heard from a former Oath Keeper and from a member of the Jan. 6 mob.

These guys are a lot less scary under oath, by the way.  A little heavy on the tattoos perhaps, but basically regular people.

Jason Van Tatenhove was an aspiring journalist who embedded himself with the Oath Keepers to write a book, but ended up becoming their spokesman.

“They may not like to call themselves a militia, but they are. The best illustration for what the Oath Keepers are happened January 6, when we saw that stacked military formation, going up the stairs of our capitol,” Tatenhove testified.

Seeing what happened Jan. 6 woke him up:

“I think we need to quit mincing words and just talk about truths. And what it was going to be was an armed revolution. I mean, people died that day,” Tatenhove continued.

He came to understand that the Oath Keepers are serious about starting a Civil War, and he thinks Donald Trump is itching to help them:

“What else is he going to do if he gets elected again, all bets are off at that point,” he said. “I have three daughters, I have a granddaughter, and I fear for the world that they will inherit if we do not start holding these people to account.”

And then there was Stephen Ayres – who drove to D.C. from Ohio to “Stop The Steal” – not as part of any militia but as one of Trump’s social media minions:

But he told the committee that after January 6th  he started to wonder – if there was the kind of massive election fraud that Trump was claiming – why wasn’t there any proof?

“You know, I started doing my own research and everything,” Ayers said. “And for something like that to actually take place. It’d be it’s too big, you know, there’d be there’s no way to keep something like that quiet.”

And when he hears Trump still giving the same speeches about a stolen election?

“And it makes me mad because I was hanging on every word,” he continued. “He was saying everything he was putting out, I was following it. I mean, if I was doing it, hundreds of thousands or millions of other people are doing it, or maybe even still doing it.”

Ayres testimony could be a play for leniency – he faces sentencing in a few months – but his story is also a window into how dumb you feel when you skip the fact check and buy the lie.

“I consider myself a family man and I love my country. I don’t think any one man is bigger than either one of those. I guess the thing for me is to take the blinders off. Make sure you step back and see what’s going on. Before it’s too late,” Ayers warned.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: ‘Take the blinders off,’ former Trump supporter says in Jan 6 hearing