This article was updated to correct the date when Die Welt's photo of Jon Schaffer was taken and his quotes were first published. Die Welt spoke to Schaffer and took his picture on November 15, 2020 at a pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C. AFP's photo was captured earlier today inside the U.S. Capitol, with Jon wearing similar clothes to what he donned at the above-mentioned event less than two months earlier.
The updated article follows below.
ICED EARTH leader Jon Schaffer was photographed among the protesters who breached the U.S. Capitol earlier today (Wednesday, January 6) as lawmakers counted the Electoral College votes certifying President-elect Joe Biden's win.
Schaffer was captured with a group of demonstrators who entered the Capitol as Congress debated the 2020 presidential election electoral vote certification. The photo, which was taken by Roberto Schmidt of AFP, can be found on the Getty Images web site. The same Schaffer picture was used as the lead photo for two separate high-profile mainstream news articles earlier today: NBC News and The Daily Beast.
This is not the first pro-Donald Trump event that Schaffer has been part of. Less than two months ago, on November 15, Jon identified himself and spoke to the German daily newspaper Die Welt while in the crowd at a Washington, D.C. demonstration supporting Trump and protesting the election results. At the time, Die Welt journalist Carolina Drüten posted a picture of the guitarist and erroneously spelled Schaffer's name as "John Schaper" but did correctly note that he traveled from his home state of Indiana to attend the event.
"They will go down. They're messing with the wrong people, believe me," Schaffer was quoted as saying by Die Welt, referring to the American political establishment.
Asked by Die Welt if he expected riots, Schaffer said: "If someone uses violence against us, we will react accordingly. We don't want that, but we are ready."
During a September 2020 Facebook Live chat, Schaffer was asked if he has any intention of ever going into politics. He responded: "I'm too much of a rabble-rouser. I'm not politics material. I'm not politically correct. I'm never gonna say things that I don't believe in because somebody's lining my pockets. I have no interest in that garbage. And I think there's a few people out there like that, but they're few and far between. But still, it's really not a thing that I'm interested in."
He continued: "I spend a lot of time and energy trying to get people to do some research. I'm not trying to convince somebody of anything. I'm just saying just check it out. Use your own power of discernment. But don't make judgments based on mainstream media manipulation. These people lie all the fucking time; it's what they do. They're feckless traitors. That's what Congress is. They deceive all of us. I don't care if it's Parliament or whatever system you have — it's a joke. They're criminals, and they're owned by criminal bankers, and that's just the reality of it.
"I would rather be a guy that inspires people to get fired up about this. This is a big deal. This is about the future of the human race. This is no joke by any stretch. We have to educate ourselves.
"People think they don't have any power, but they have a tremendous amount of power — I mean, an unbelievable amount of power," Schaffer added. "The system and the control grid wants to make you feel like you have no power and they enforce their rule through fear, intimidation and psychological warfare. It's all garbage.
"I think part of it is the currency system and the way they just print money out of thin air, and it's not backed by anything, it's allowed people to have this illusion of wealth, which tends to keep people soft. But at the end of the day, it's all debt based, so that's another form of slavery. And if you're living in that kind of system, it's a way to keep people calm, because they think everything is okay. It's not okay. It hasn't been okay for a very long time. It's just now you're starting to see everything come to a head.
"I'm not a left-or-right guy. I'm an American — that's my country; that's where I live. I don't trust my government. I don't give a shit if it's an 'R' or a 'D' next to the name of the person. I try to understand the bigger picture. I've done a lot of reading and a lot of studying. I'm a man of my convictions, and I don't say stuff that I don't truly believe. And I have changed my position a few times through the years, because I've learned more — not because I was trying to be politically correct or trying to kowtow to somebody's opinion.
"I don't really care if people like my view," he said. "I really don't care. It is what I feel, and I'm being honest about it based on the research that I've done, and I've done shitloads of it. I can make these claims and back it up.
"I feel like I can have more of an effect through the music than I ever could trying to get into that arena, which is just full of trash. And it is up to all of the people to turn that around. You can't put your hope into one president or one person, or a mayor or a governor or whatever. You've gotta be out there and actively put pressure on these people, let 'em know you're paying attention. If you're not paying attention, they're gonna rob you and steal everything. Your freedom too. Not just your money. They're gonna steal your fucking freedom. 'Cause they're a bunch of sick control freaks."
Last July, Schaffer raised eyebrows when he voiced his controversial views on the coronavirus crisis during an interview with MetalSucks's "The Quarantinecast", claiming that COVID-19 is "a psychological warfare campaign on the people more than it is a serious pandemic." Implying that a shadowy cabal of elites is using a global crisis as a cover to profiteer and entrench their power, Schaffer said: "I think there's a lot more going on than meets the eye here — in fact, I know there is. Legitimate doctors and scientists are being censored and banned on YouTube constantly. It's unbelievable levels of fraud."
Schaffer and former ICED EARTH vocalist Matt Barlow announced last summer that they were reuniting as the SCHAFFER/BARLOW PROJECT.
SCHAFFER/BARLOW PROJECT released its debut EP, "Winter Nights", in November. The effort saw the two musicians putting their unique spin on five Christmas classics and two ICED EARTH songs. The EP features holiday classics like "Silent Night" and "Little Drummer Boy", as well as new interpretations of the ICED EARTH tracks "Watching Over Me" and "I Died For You".