Right-wing media personalities have been pushing conspiracy theories about the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. They've called the circumstances of his death “peculiar,” “suspicious,” and “fishy,” and claimed President Obama or his allies may have “killed” Scalia because of his opinions on environmental regulations, gun laws, immigration, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and unions. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has been aiding the conspiracy theories, calling the circumstances surrounding Scalia's death “pretty unusual” and “big stuff.”
Right-Wing Media On Scalia's Death: "Stinks To High Heaven," “The Regime Murdered A Justice,” “Obama And Unions Have Motive To Want Him Dead”
Matt Drudge Fueled Conspiracy With Large Red Headline: “SCALIA FOUND DEAD WITH 'PILLOW OVER HEAD.'” The Drudge Report fueled conspiracy theories during the early morning of February 15 with a screaming headline in red lettering, “SCALIA FOUND DEAD WITH 'PILLOW OVER HEAD.'” John Poindexter, owner of the ranch where Scalia was found, told CNN on February 16 after conspiracy theories about the death began to circulate: “The pillow was against the headboard and over his head when he was discovered. He looked like someone who had had a restful night's sleep. There was no evidence of anything else.” [Twitter.com, 2/15/16; Drudge Report Archives, 2/15/16; CNN.com, 2/16/16]
Alex Jones: “My Gut Tells Me They Killed Him And All The Intellectual Evidence Lays It Out.” Jones, a leading conspiracy theorist and radio host, said of Scalia's death: “My gut tells me they killed him and all the intellectual evidence lays it out.” Jones also wondered if Clarence Thomas, Ron Paul, and Donald Trump would be assassinated next. As evidence, Jones also claimed that conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart, who died of heart failure in 2012, was murdered. [Facebook.com, 2/13/16, via Right Wing Watch]
Jones Says Scalia Killed Over Power Plant Regulation, Gun Laws, Immigration, And TPP: “Maybe It's Just A Message To The Rest Of The Court.” Jones explained why Scalia was supposedly killed: “He said no, we're not shutting down all the carbon plants, no, we're going to defend the Second Amendment, no, we're going to control the border, no, we're not going to let the [Trans-Pacific Partnership] run everything, and they went, 'Oh really? You're dead.'” Jones later speculated: “Maybe it's just a message to the rest of the court: 'You do what you're told or you're going to end up with a pillow over your head.'” Jones also claimed that Scalia's death represents Obama's “final assault” against America. [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 2/16/16; Right Wing Watch, 2/16/16]
Michael Savage: Scalia Was “Found Dead Under Suspicious Circumstances ... Stinks To High Heaven.” Savage, one of the country's most extreme far-right radio personalities, has suggested that the government is “corrupt enough” to kill Scalia. He said Scalia's body was “found dead under suspicious circumstances” and his death “stinks to high heaven.” Savage also hosted Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and speculated that Scalia might have been “murdered.” When Savage asked Trump if he would support “the equivalent of a Warren Commission ” to investigate Scalia's death, the business magnate replied that he “just heard” that “they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow. I can't tell you what -- I can't give you an answer”:
SAVAGE: Donald I need to come back to the topic we've been all screaming about here which is Scalia, was he murdered? I know it's pretty brutal to say that and I'm not wanting to drag you into this but this is going to get bigger and bigger and bigger. I went on the air and said we need the equivalent of a Warren Commission, we need an immediate autopsy before the body is disposed of. What do you think of that?
TRUMP: Well I just heard today and that just a little while ago actually -- you know I just landed and I'm hearing it's a big topic -- that's the question. And it's a horrible topic, but they say they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow. I can't tell you what -- I can't give you an answer. You know usually I like to give you answers but I literally just heard it a little while ago. It's just starting to come out now, as you know, Michael.
SAVAGE: Well I've been covering it for an hour and a half, there's a lot more to it than that. There was no medical examiner present, there was no one who declared the death who was there, it was done by telephone from a U.S. marshal, appointed by Obama himself. So let me not try to drag you into something you haven't studied because I don't think it would be fair to you and to the audience. I think after you look into these facts, Donald, you yourself will have to come to some different conclusions than you may think. [Media Matters, 2/16/16]
Mike Gallagher: “It Seems Peculiar ... Pretty Shocking Stuff.” Gallagher, a Fox News contributor and Salem Radio Network host, interviewed Trump and claimed the circumstances behind Scalia's death were “peculiar.” Gallagher stated: “I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I don't think you are either, but boy it seems peculiar that there doesn't seem to be an autopsy planned ... this is, like, pretty shocking stuff.” Trump didn't refute Gallagher's conspiracy mongering -- instead, he declared the supposedly suspicious circumstances to be “big stuff”:
GALLAGHER: I have to say, and my audience, the phone lines are burning up and people are questioning the circumstances behind Justice Scalia's death and you know, this is a beloved man -- a husband, father, grandfather, found lying in bed with a pillow over his head. It's all over the Drudge Report. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I don't think you are either, but boy it seems peculiar that there doesn't seem to be an autopsy planned --
GALLAGHER: -- for the death of such an important person. I mean -- this is, like, pretty shocking stuff, don't you think?
TRUMP: Well I had just heard this from you, Mike, that's interesting. This is the new theory that came out as of this morning.
GALLAGHER: Well it is and the owner of the ranch, he was quoted as having found Justice Scalia in bed. There were no marshals, he had no protection, and he was found according to the owner of the ranch with a pillow over his head, looking like peaceful repose. He was declared dead over the phone by a justice of the peace who was not even there in person. There's just -- it just seems to me that if there was a liberal Supreme Court justice who passed away and we would have this debate on the other side, there would be cries for an investigation --
GALLAGHER: -- an autopsy. I mean no autopsy being planned?
TRUMP: That's big stuff. Especially since it's really the turn of the court. You know, you're really talking about the balance of the court, that's big stuff. Wow.
GALLAGHER: This is history, this is history, it's huge.
TRUMP: That'll be a new topic. That'll be a new topic --
GALLAGHER: Well, yeah, I hope you have a chance to look into it.
TRUMP: -- to increase your ratings even further.
GALLAGHER: Yeah, and maybe spend some time on it as you delve into that. [Salem Radio Network, The Mike Gallagher Show, 2/15/16, via Media Matters]
Rick Wiles: “The Regime Murdered A Justice.” Wiles, host of the Christian-based radio program TRUNEWS, suggested there were “possible occult connections” to Scalia's death and said “the regime murdered a justice.” He concluded: “This is the way a dictatorial, fascist, police state regime takes control of a nation.” [Right Wing Watch, 2/16/16]
Grant Stinchfield: “Obama And Unions Have Motive To Want Him Dead.” Stinchfield, a Dallas-based radio host and former Republican congressional candidate, said that while he doesn't “know for a fact that [Scalia] was murdered,” he wants a criminal investigation into the death. Stinchfield continued by claiming that unions and people connected to President Obama had motive to kill Scalia and concluded the death “smells fishy.” He also tweeted, "#ScaliaDeath should be investigated by the FBI. To many red flags. #Obama and Unions have motive to want him dead." [KLIF, The Stinchfield Report, 2/15/16; Twitter.com, 2/15/16]
Scalia's Family Asks People To Stop Spreading Conspiracy Theories About Death
Scalia's Son Rejects Conspiracy Theories: “Our Family Just Has No Doubt That He Was Taken From Us By Natural Causes.” Eugene Scalia, the son of the late Supreme Court justice, said on Laura Ingraham's radio program that the family has “no doubt” that he died of natural causes and “We ask others to accept that and pray for him.”
“Our family just has no doubt that he was taken from us by natural causes,” Eugene Scalia said on the Laura Ingraham show on Wednesday. “We accept that. We're praying for him. We ask others to accept that and pray for him.”
The younger Scalia's comments come after the justice's unexpected death on Saturday -- and local authorities' decision not to conduct an autopsy -- spurred conspiracy theories that something other than a heart attack may have claimed his life. [Politico, 2/17/16]