Utah Republican tried to start his own Oath Keepers chapter -- but 'nobody showed up'

A Utah Republican official tried to set up his own chapter of the anti-government Oath Keepers group, but was ultimately unsuccessful.

Volney Morin, chairman of the Iron County GOP, showed up on a hacked membership list for the right-wing militant group, and he told The Salt Lake Tribune that he joined about a decade ago when he lived in Arizona and tried to start a new chapter when he moved to Cedar City in 2017 -- but ran into a problem.

"Nobody showed up," Morin said.

Members of the group have been linked to the Jan. 6 insurrection, including founder Stewart Rhodes, but Morin chafed when the newspaper asked about those ties.

"Your question presumes the Oath Keepers endorsed that action," Morin said. "In reality, it was some individuals who decided to do something that was stupid."

"It's awfully easy for us to judge a group based on the behavior of a small percentage of the group," he added. "They take the actions of some people who don't represent the values of the group then think the rest believes the same thing. You cannot paint everyone based on the actions of one person."

Morin has asked for his name to be removed from the Oath Keepers' membership list since the hack was revealed, and state GOP officials have no problem with his past involvement.

"I joined the group because they were pro-constitution and I wanted to support a constitutionally based government," Morin said. "They want to peacefully resist any encroachment by the government on the Constitution as the supreme law of the land."