After Trump confidant Roger Stone drew widespread attention for advising President Donald Trump to declare martial law after Election Day, he has continued to promote conspiracy theories about Democrats stealing the election to justify Trump taking draconian actions to stay in office.
During a September 10 appearance on The Alex Jones Show, Stone -- a recent recipient of clemency from Trump following his conviction on multiple felony counts -- claimed that the only legitimate outcome of the 2020 election would be a Trump victory, and that if Trump is not declared the winner, that will mean widespread voter fraud has taken place to steal the election. Indeed, Stone claimed without evidence that voter fraud was already taking place in absentee voting in Nevada, which he blamed on “illegals,” and said that Trump should order federal authorities to seize both the absentee and in-person ballots submitted in that state.
Stone used baseless claims about voter fraud to offer other suggestions to Trump, including having the president order FBI agents and Republican state officials to “physically” block voting, and using the Insurrection Act or a declaration of martial law to carry out widespread arrests of individuals supposedly engaged in voter fraud.
Responding to outrage over his martial law comments, Stone appeared on the September 17 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show to claim that the media had taken him out of context. Stone said, “I’m really really shocked at the way the mainstream media bastardized my comments, took them out of context, ignored that I said that the Insurrection Act and martial law could be used only if there was blatant and flagrant evidence of fraud. I did not say the president should invoke martial law if he lost an honest election.”
But in his September 10 comments, Stone was clear that the conditions he put on Trump taking draconian actions have already been met in his mind: “I’d like to have an honest election in which the real winner takes office. The real winner will not be Joe Biden. There is too much voter fraud already going on in Florida and Nevada.”
And during his September 17 appearance with far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Stone also made several other baseless voter fraud accusations that would seem to meet his condition for Trump to declare martial law. Stone said that in addition to absentee voting fraud, there will be “double voting, voting of people who are not eligible, voting the dead or people who have moved -- these are all the traditional tricks of the urban Democratic Party machines, and they will be using all of them on Election Day.”
Jones also claimed he had talked to a top White House official about election strategy, and he suggested voter fraud was being backed by liberal philanthropist George Soros, a frequent target of anti-Semitic smears and conspiracy theories from the far right. He said, “I talked to one of Trump’s top people yesterday morning, he called me, and he said that they’re optimistic and they believe that there is going to be fraud. The lawyers are going to try to block it, try to hold the election, but they said maybe after a few days they believe the Supreme Court is going to come in and veto these Democrat-Soros attempts to drag this out for months fraudulently.” Jones often claims to be in contact with White House officials and sometimes Trump himself.
Stone has also followed up on his martial law comments by suggesting that he may undertake an effort to “monitor” the 2020 elections; in 2016, an election monitoring initiative he headed called Stop the Steal was hit with lawsuits over allegations of voter intimidation, in one case yielding an injunction against the group.
Media should not fall for Stone’s attempts to dismiss the extremism of his comments. He is claiming without evidence that widespread voter fraud is already taking place, that Trump winning is the only legitimate outcome to the election, and that Trump should take draconian measures on the basis of a condition Stone says has already been met.