Now that the president of the Montana Senate has come out publicly in support of a Militia of Montana affiliated leader for the Montana Republican Party, its time to take a closer look at this group and what it stands for so we can get a better sense of Essmann’s vision for the MTGOP. As a recent report by the Montana Human Rights Network reveals, its not pretty.
As I wrote in my previous post, Essmann is supporting Jennifer Fielder for Montana Republican leadership. She and John Trochmann are leaders of the “Sanders County Resource Council,” which is the name the group Militia of Montana is using to try to appear innocuous. As, the MHRN reports, the group was started by a bunch of low-lifes with ties to white supremacists.
John Trochmann and members of his family started the Militia of Montana (MOM) in 1994. Prior to founding MOM, Trochmann spoke at and attended meetings at Idaho’s Aryan Nations. In the mid-1990s as MOM attempted to portray itself as mainstream, Trochmann tried desperately to distance himself and MOM from racist beliefs and Aryan Nations. Richard Butler, leader of Aryan Nations, responded with a letter asking why Trochmann lied about the number of times he had visited the hate group. The letter also stated Trochmann attended several of the group’s Bible studies and helped draft a code of conduct for the Aryan Nations compound. Over the years, MOM distributed material by well-known white supremacists, racist websites, and activists who deny the Holocaust. Its newsletter also published articles claiming Jewish people are the “synagogue of Satan” and control the government.
MOM grew out of another group Trochmann helped organize, United Citizens for Justice (UCJ), the MHRN reports. Some well-known white supremacists were leaders of the UCJ. They included a self-proclaimed neo-Naz, an editor for editor of a “Christian Identity” magazine (that’s the religion of the Aryan Nations), and a former leader of the Texas Ku Klux Klan. This group eventually folded due to infighting, and reformed as the Militia of Montana.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that this Trochmann character is the only Sanders County Resource Council activist with a history with the white supremacist militia either. Again from the MHRN report: “Ed Dosh is a [Sanders County Resource Council] activist. A longtime MOM member, Dosh worked the gun-show and preparedness expo circuit with the group during the 1990s. He’s been a close associate of John Trochmann ever since. Dosh was also a founding member of the Church of True Israel, a white supremacist group that splintered off from Aryan Nations in the mid-1990s.”
One final thing that’s important to note from the MHRN report is that Trochmann and the Militia of Montana havn’t been about to avoid trouble with the law:
In 1995, Trochmann and others were arrested in Roundup, MT, following an armed confrontation with law officers after Trochmann’s group tried filing documents supporting the Montana Freemen. When they were arrested, the “patriots” were equipped with plastic restraining devices, $80,000 in cash and coins, and numerous weapons. Charges against Trochmann were later dropped. In 2005, Trochmann faced charges of kidnapping and assault in Spokane after roughing up his niece, because he believed she had stolen a firearm from him. The charges were eventually dropped, but not before MOM shelled out $10,000 for an attorney.
If all of this weren’t enough, check out what happened when Trochmann’s brother tried to kick him out of the Militia for cheating on his wife. Trochmann went and formed a new group that he called the “Coalition for Men’s Rights.” This group was made up of men who had restraining orders against them for spousal abuse. So this is quite a crew and it will be interesting to see if the rest of the Montana Republican Party believes that this is the kind of people they want to follow.