An anti-Islam activist and member of the militant group seizing an Oregon wildlife refuge said in a video released on Friday that the movement was bigger than their own individual pasts — after insulting another member of the group.
Jon Ritzheimer opened the video by criticizing “anti-violence patriot” Lewis Arthur in the wake of a confrontation between Arthur and “Blaine Cooper” — the name used by multiple-time felon Stanley Blaine Hicks. The 14-minute statement was posted on Cooper’s Facebook page.
“I’m questioning whether or not this Lewis Arthur is perhaps a homeless person and has found a way to develop this guise using the name ‘veteran’ for Veterans on Patrol to get people to sympathize with him and donate to them so that he can have shelters and food and everything brought to him,” Ritzheimer said. “So, again, people, if you just think you know Lewis Arthur from social media, you do not know Lewis Arthur.”
Arthur, who has identified himself as the leader of the Veterans on Patrol group, was accused of seeking “a couple seconds of fame” after saying that he was attacked by Cooper while attempting to remove women and children from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, as well as Ryan Bundy, who took part in the federal standoff with Cliven Bundy in 2014 and boasted about setting up sniper teams during that encounter.
- Militia leader Ammon Bundy: Occupiers will leave wildlife refuge only as ‘free men’
- Here’s why Oregon militants might be planning to ‘arrest’ the sheriff and execute him for treason
- Broke, unemployed and on disability: Here’s how the Oregon militants can afford to play ‘patriot’ games
- Oregon militants brawl as friends beg them to go home: ‘You’re surrounded by informants’
At one point in the video, someone can be heard whispering the line, “We need to stop fighting with each other,” which Ritzheimer repeats. Later, he asked viewers not to focus on the background of any individual in the group.
“Maybe there is a felon here,” he said. “Let he who’s out there without sin cast the first stone. Yes, Blaine Cooper may have an ugly past, but that man stood by my side when we thought there was certain death headed our way.”
Ritzheimer did not mention that “Cooper’s” past includes felony charges for assault with and without a deadly weapon, as well as alcohol- and traffic-related offenses. The Oath Keepers militia group has described Cooper’s position within the group as “the first sign that nothing good was going to come” from their action backing up Ammon and Ryan Bundy’s taking of the facility.
For his part, Ritzheimer first attracted national attention last year after boasting about making t-shirts saying “F*ck Islam” and organizing armed protests against mosques in Arizona. He subsequently gained the attention of the FBI after threatening to attack a small, majority-Muslim community in New York state.
On Friday he described the taking of the refuge as a sacrifice he and his cohorts were willing to undertake for the good of the country.
“A lot of people here are losing work — they’re not able to go home and provide for their families. I am one of them,” he argued. “But I’m making that pledge to these men to know that as long as the greater good for America comes from all of this, what’s mine is yours.”
However, Ritzheimer did not mention that he actually relies on his veterans’ disability pay as well as “a wife that works.”
Watch Ritzheimer’s statement, as posted online on Friday, below.
SHARE! BREAKING ALERT MARINE JON RITZHEIMER SPEAKS-OUT ABOUT OREGON SITUATION TO DISPEL RUMORS! WE NEED YOUR HELP! Israel Torres
Posted by Blaine Cooper on Friday, 8 January 2016
WATCH: Saturday Night Live airs Christmas special — that’s just one giant dig at the Electoral College
NBC's "Saturday Night Live" aired an opening skit that was just one giant attack on the electoral college.
A snowman introduced the segment, saying that we could look in on the holiday table conversation thanks to hacked Nest cams.
The skit featured a house in San Francisco, California, a second in Charleston, South Carolina and a third in Atlanta, Georgia.
Each dinner table debated impeachment, and the differences between President Donald Trump and his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
But then the snowman said that none of their votes matter.
"They'll debate the issues all year long, but then it all comes down to 1,000 people in Wisconsin who won't even think about the election until the morning of," the snowman said. "And that's the magic of the Electoral College."
Georgia mayor being recalled for racism resigns from office: report
Hoschton Mayor Theresa Kenerly resigned in a special city council meeting held on Saturday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Saturday.
"The resignation came just days after Councilman Jim Cleveland resigned saying he‘d rather leave office on his own terms than face voters in a recall election next month," the newspaper reported. "Both resignations follow an AJC investigation launched seven months ago into claims that an African American candidate for city administrator was sidetracked by Mayor Theresa Kenerly because of his race."
‘You can say Merry Christmas again’: Lara and Eric Trump declare victory in the War on Christmas
For years, conservatives have complained about a "War on Christmas" -- but President Donald Trump finally won the war, according to his son and daughter-in-law.
Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro interviewed Eric Trump and his wife Lara in Trump Tower, which Pirro called the "New York White House."
Pirro told the two they had "done wonderful things for the country" and said Trump had ended political correctness and people could say "Merry Christmas."
"You can say Merry Christmas again," Lara Trump said. "Isn't that so nice, Jeanine?"
"It's incredible," Eric Trump said. "It is nice to say Merry Christmas again."