Trump confidant Roger Stone appeared on a YouTube channel dedicated to promoting the violence-linked QAnon conspiracy theory to offer analysis of the first presidential debate. Stone previously appeared on the channel in June and said, “I certainly hope Q is real and there a number of indications that the information that is being disseminated has been of enormous value in this fight for freedom.”
On July 10, Trump commuted Stone’s 40-month prison sentence after he was convicted of lying to Congress and tampering with witnesses as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into 2016 election interference. In the weeks leading up to the commutation, Stone made a number of media appearances asking Trump to grant him clemency and said that in exchange, he could be a more effective campaigner for the president’s 2020 reelection efforts.
In that capacity, Stone participated in a two-minute video posted to YouTube channel IntheMatrixxx following the September 29 debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. The IntheMatrixxx YouTube channel is a major hub for QAnon conspiracy theories; it has more than 75,000 subscribers and over 4.5 million total views on the platform. The channel additionally claims that Stone will offer commentary for the upcoming vice presidential debate and the other two presidential debates in October. (In 2016, Stone provided debate commentary for far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars outlet, where he pushed bizarre and unfounded conspiracy theories against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.)
In Tuesday’s video, Stone said that Trump was “probably was not wise” to agree to the debate because “what you got was a format that turned into a two to one match because essentially” moderator Chris Wallace “ran interference for Crazy Joe.” Nonetheless, Stone declared the debate “a clear-cut victory for the president” and claimed that Trump “defeated Chris Wallace in the debate, and Joe Biden came in third.”
In his analysis, Stone made no mention of one of the worst moments of the debate. Asked by Wallace to condemn white supremacy, Trump refused and instead said, “The Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.”
Stone is closely affiliated with the Proud Boys, a “western chauvinist” hate group whose members have participated in violence and promotion of white supremacy. On September 19, he endorsed the leader of a Hawaii Proud Boys chapter who is running for a state representative seat.
The Daily Beast’s Kelly Weill documented the close ties between Stone and the Proud Boys in a 2019 article, describing the organization as “a neo-fascist group that glorifies violence against opponents, particularly on the left.” Weill reported that Stone has “grown tighter with the violent ultra-nationalist group, hiring them as security and participating in the group’s videos -- even repeating its slogan.”
Stone recently stoked outrage after a September 10 appearance on The Alex Jones Show in which he urged Trump to consider several draconian measures to stay in power following the 2020 election, including having federal authorities seize ballots in Nevada, having FBI agents and Republican state officials “physically” block voting under the pretext of preventing voter fraud, using martial law or the Insurrection Act to carry out widespread arrests, and nationalizing state police forces.