“I was the person that came up with the Jan. 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks, and then Congressman Andy Biggs,” GOP operative Ali Alexander said in a Dec. 28, 2020, Periscope video. “We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting, so that who we couldn’t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside.”
The video, which was captured by investigative reporter Jason Paladino before it was deleted, highlights the role played by Alexander, his so-called “Stop the Steal” campaign, and far-right members of Congress in the failed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack launches its first public hearings June 9, and Alexander and “Stop the Steal” are likely to figure prominently in its findings. Alexander sat for eight hours of testimony in front of the committee on Dec. 9, and in April, a lawyer for Alexander said he would cooperate with the Department of Justice’s Jan. 6 investigation—a claim on which Alexander promptly threw cold water.
Right Wing Watch extensively covered Ali Alexander and the so-called Stop the Steal movement ahead of Jan. 6. Here’s what you need to know.
Who is Ali Alexander? What is “Stop the Steal”?
On Nov. 4, 2020, as mail-in ballots began to be counted and shifted the election in favor of Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump falsely declared that the ongoing efforts to count millions of outstanding ballots were an indication of fraud and that he had in fact won.
Hours later, Alexander publicly launched “Stop the Steal,” a campaign to get right-wing activists to discredit mail-in voting, disrupt vote-counting, and falsely accuse Democrats of stealing the presidential election. The campaign held its first rally outside Arizona’s state capitol building in Phoenix that evening, featuring Rep. Paul Gosar, who with a bullhorn in hand, addressed the crowd before introducing “Pizzagate” booster Mike Cernovich, who threatened imaginary anti-fascist activists.
And so began months of “Stop the Steal” rallies featuring far-right members of Congress, QAnon and election conspiracy theorists, Christian nationalists, and far-right anti-government groups, all under the MAGA banner.
Alexander, née Ali Akbar, has long worked in Republican politics, coming up under the tutelage of “dirty trickster” Roger Stone. He has connections to deep pockets, too: a PAC advised by Alexander received a $60,000 donation in 2016 from pro-Trump billionaire Robert Mercer. These Republican connections have persisted despite his habit of noting when members of the media he criticizes are Jewish and despite associating with far-right figures like Unite the Right white supremacist attendee Matt Colligan and members of the neo-fascist Proud Boys.
Alexander’s “Stop the Steal” campaign wasn’t the first to go by that name. Longtime GOP operative and Trump confidant Roger Stone first popularized the phrase “Stop the Steal” during the 2016 presidential election. In 2018, Alexander, Stone, and far-right commentator Jack Posobiec launched a “Stop the Steal” campaign during a ballot recount for Florida’s Senate race between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Bill Nelson. Pro-Trump activists from around the country descended on Florida to protest and spread misinformation, insisting that Democrats were trying to “steal” the election from Scott. It served as a dry run for the 2020 presidential election. Sure enough, in September 2020, Posobiec and Alexander discussed rebooting the campaign.
What was their role in the lead up to Jan. 6?
Alexander served as the lead organizer for “Stop the Steal.” The campaign targeted Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia—battleground states won by Joe Biden and whose cities are home to predominantly Black and brown voters—holding rallies and spreading election disinformation on social media.
He called on figures he knew from his time as a member of the highly secretive Council for National Policy and through his years in Republican politics to join the effort, including activists Amy and Kylie Kremer, Jack Posobiec, Brandon Straka, Scott Presler, Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, Ed Martin of Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk. He brought into the fold Trump’s short-lived national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump team attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood—who have since been disciplined for bringing false lawsuits alleging election fraud. Most joined the so-called “Stop the Steal” movement in a public capacity; others promoted the same messaging through their own organizations and organized behind the scenes.
Alexander welcomed extremists into the campaign’s ranks. Male supremacist Mike Cernovich, white nationalist Nick Fuentes, and far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones were among the first to answer Alexander’s call. Alongside white nationalist Patrick Casey, Vincent James, and Baked Alaska, Fuentes galvanized crowds of white men to attend “Stop the Steal” rallies across the county, while Jones spread disinformation through his Infowars network, raised funds for the Jan. 6 rally, and brought a caravan of supporters to rallies.
On Nov. 14, “Stop the Steal” came to the nation’s capital. Thousands of Trump loyalists, conspiracy theorists, and members of far-right groups took to the streets. Marjorie Taylor Green, Lauren Boebert, and Madison Cawthorn—all recently elected to Congress—addressed the crowd alongside organizers. Radical conspiracy theorist Alex Jones yelled unintelligibly into a bullhorn. Members of the Proud Boys hate group roamed the streets looking for fights and found them late in the evening. Fuentes’ America First group, a youth-focused white-nationalist outfit, commanded the crowd’s attention with chants of “America First.”
Nick Fuentes’ white nationalist “groypers” commanded the crowds attention at Freedom Plaza with chants of “America First.” pic.twitter.com/KPXjENFHz3
— Kristen Doerer (@k2doe) November 14, 2020
A second Dec. 12 rally was deeply steeped in Christian nationalist and violent rhetoric. Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes called on Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act and declare martial law, threatening a “much more bloody war” should he fail to do so.
While rallies brought the whole of the MAGA movement together, Alexander held regular Periscopes to spread disinformation and provide action items to Trump supporters.
Alexander called on “Stop the Steal” activists to lobby the state legislatures of battleground states won by Joe Biden to ignore the election results and send Republican electors to the electoral college to give Trump enough electoral votes. He called on state Republican legislators to declare the election fraudulent and threatened them with a primary challenger should they not.
By mid-December, right-wing activists and lawyers were focused on Jan. 6, the day Congress would certify the electoral votes. More than 100 House members and a dozen Senators committed to voting against certifying the election. Trump and the apparatus around him began to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to use his ceremonial duty to block or delay Biden’s certification. “Stop the Steal” fed into that pressure, with “Stop the Steal” friend Lin Wood going as far as to call for the vice president’s execution.
On Dec. 19, Trump declared it “[s]tatistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election.” He encouraged his followers to come to D.C.: “Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”
Alexander had already planned a Jan. 6 D.C. protest, but he began fighting his one-time fellow activists Kylie and Amy Kremer for control of the big Jan. 6 rally. The Kremers had used the “Stop the Steal” banner for their cross country bus tour and a competing December rally, much to Alexander’s chagrin. ProPublica reported that Katrina Pierson, whom the White House put in charge of the rally planning, “helped arrange a deal where those organizers deemed too extreme to speak at the Ellipse could do so on the night of Jan. 5.” That meant Alexander and his cohort were relegated to speaking on the evening of Jan. 5, while the Kremers took the lead on the Jan. 6 event held at the Ellipse.Alexander held that Jan. 5 rally and planned his own separate “wild” Jan. 6 protest on the east side of the Capitol building to follow the main “Save America” rally.
Alexander spent weeks in the lead up to the Capitol insurrection calling for “rebellion,” starting chants of “victory or death,” and using rhetoric of the American Revolution and spiritual warfare to call for action should Congress certify the election of President Joe Biden. He engaged in violent rhetoric, appearing to even advocate for physical attacks against members of Congress who he said stole the election.
The Jan. 5 rally served as the penultimate event of those calls. Speakers delivered Christian nationalist messages and veiled threats of violence if Congress failed to reject Biden electors. Bikers for Trump founder Chris Cox told rally-goers that the United States was on the brink of a revolution and that he would “take the first bullet.” Right Wing Watch reported at the time:
Standing in front of a sign declaring “MARTIAL LAW NOW,” so-called Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander led the crowd in chants of “Victory or death!” Alexander told activists, “Our government is only our government if it is legitimate” and declared, “1776 is always an option.” He said Stop the Steal activists were starting “a rebellion against the Deep State.”
What was Ali Alexander and the campaign’s role on Jan. 6?
On the day of the insurrection, Alexander took to Twitter early in the morning to declare it the “First official day of the rebellion.” Alexander was supposed to hold his “wild” protest by the Capitol, but it would never materialize.
Trump loyalists packed into the Ellipse, eager to stop what they saw as a fraudulent election. Speaking from the stage and wearing a bulletproof vest, Rep. Mo Brooks, whom Alexander had recently called a friend, told attendees that Jan. 6 is “the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass. … Are you willing to do what it takes to fight for America? Louder! Will you fight for America?”
“If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump told the crowd. He urged activists to march to the Capitol to make their voices heard. They did as they were told.
Leaving the rally at the Ellipse after Trump’s speech, where he was a VIP guest with far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Alexander followed Jones through the Capitol grounds, past barricades, and up the Capitol steps. At that point—around 2 p.m.—the Capitol had already been breached.
“Democrats and Media ended the Republic and the people responded. Welcome to ‘duhhh’,” he tweeted an hour later.
Alexander emerged on One America News Network’s terrace overlooking the Capitol to record a video, posted on the “Stop the Steal” Twitter account by his associate Michael Coudrey at 4:26 p.m.—well after the violence had begun.
“I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this,” Alexander said, gesturing to the scene behind him. Trump loyalists were descending on the Capitol and up the Capitol steps. “This is completely peaceful, looks like, so far. And there are a couple of agitators that I obviously don’t endorse,” he claimed despite having seen what took place on the steps not long before. By the end of the video, Alexander was back to encouraging rebellion. “StoptheSteal.us is going to be the home of the rebellion against an illegitimate government.”
Right Wing Watch captured the video, which was later deleted.
This is Ali Alexander, leader of the so-called Stop the Steal campaign, saying: “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this.” pic.twitter.com/0mP0xThAYP
— Kristen Doerer (@k2doe) January 6, 2021
Where is Ali Alexander now?
Ali Alexander went into hiding following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. In February, he briefly reappeared and said he had been plotting to restart rallies in March, abolish the media, and build a separate society for Trump supporters. He declared that “civil war” was the only outcome available to those who opposed Biden’s presidency.
But Alexander was kicked off Twitter and most mainstream social media platforms. He lost access to his Venmo, Cashapp, and Paypal. He turned to alternative social media platforms and briefly became a Bitcoin influencer.
In October 2021, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack issued three subpoenas to Alexander, the Stop the Steal organization, and Nathan Martin, who worked with Alexander and reserved the Jan. 6 rally space. Alexander accused the government of “gaslighting” and blamed the violence on “agitators dressed in militant outfits.” Jan. 6, he said, was a government “psyop.”
In December 2021, Alexander testified for eight hours in a closed-door hearing and asked the House select committee to suspend reality. In a draft of his opening statement, which was leaked to the New York Times, he denied wrongdoing and passed the buck, placing blame for the violence on Katrina Pierson, Kylie Kremer, and Amy Kremer.
In a lawsuit seeking to prevent the select committee from obtaining his phone records, Alexander confirmed to congressional investigators that ahead of Jan. 6, he had communicated with several GOP congressmen—Reps. Paul Gosar, Mo Brooks, and Andy Biggs—as well as with Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend and member of Trump’s inner circle.
In April, a lawyer for Alexander said he would cooperate with the Department of Justice’s Jan. 6 investigation. The following day, Alexander joined Alex Jones’ show to suggest he wouldn’t cooperate. He went on to call the effort to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol a conspiracy to “stop Trump from running in 2024” and “usher in a New World Order.”
A few days later, Alexander joined Alex Jones’ show again. He mused that “there is a time for legitimate violence when there is legitimate tyranny.”
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
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Charlie Kirk, Purveyor of ‘Rigged’ Election Lie, Complains GOP Lost ‘Because a Lot of People Do Not Trust the System’
Far right wing activist Charlie Kirk complained on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” show Tuesday that many Republicans in Arizona lost their elections earlier this month because they “do not trust” the election system. Kirk is a purveyor of Donald Trump’s “Big Lie,” and has repeatedly promoted the false claim that U.S. elections are “rigged.”
“400,000 people that showed up for Donald Trump or voted for Donald Trump in 2020 did not show up or vote for the midterm election,” Kirk told his audience. (NCRM has not verified these numbers and could find nothing to support the claim.)
“Now, I believe it’s because a lot of people do not trust the system,” Kirk claimed.
Why does Charlie Kirk believe “a lot of people do not trust the system”?
Because he told them not to. Over and over and over again.
In January on his show Kirk hosted Mollie Hemingway, the editor in chief of The Federalist, a right wing website founded by Ben Domenech and Sean Davis. The Federalist has been a purveyor of false election claims, according to Reuters, which reports the claims “are presented inaccurately.” Twitter had to append a “cautionary label” to a Federalist tweet after The Federalist wrongly stated, “Yes, Democrats Are Trying To Steal The Election In Michigan, Wisconsin, And Pennsylvania,” according to The Daily Beast.
Hemingway is also the author of the book, “Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections.”
The title of that episode of The Charlie Kirk Show? “Why Conservatives Can’t Turn Our Backs on Rigged Elections with Mollie Hemingway.”
(The Federalist was also cited by The New England Journal of Medicine for belong create a “superspreader” event of false information about the effectiveness of masks in the fight against COVID-19.)
In April Kirk hosted right wing activist David Bossie, president of the political lobbying group Citizens United, and a former Trump 2016 campaign official.
The title of that episode?
Kirk likes the word “rigged.” On Twitter he’s used it a lot to suggest that the U.S. elections are “rigged.”
“The same people who spent the last 4 years falsely saying Russians rigged our elections are now saying there’s no way an election could be rigged by illegal ballots and voter fraud. How does that work?” (Nov 6, 2020)
“BREAKING: A mail carrier was just charged with attempted election fraud after changing party affiliations on mail-in ballots Still think there aren’t any issues with rigged elections due to mail-in voting? RT so the media has to report on the DANGERS of mail-in voter FRAUD!” (Apr 16, 2020)
“Democrats should be livid. This is a rigged game to protect the ruling class Thank goodness the GOP is a true grassroots party where ANY voice or person can win Democrats corruption will not allow fair or free elections” (Feb 4, 2020)
Or this tweet from 2019.
Must suck to be a Democrat:
You lose the election you rigged to win in 2016
And in 2019, the rigged hoax you created to make up for losing in 2016 gets blown up by the man who led the investigation
Not sick of winning!
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) July 25, 2019
On November 9, this was the opening of a New York Times article.
“On the morning of Election Day, Charlie Kirk, the conservative talk show host from Arizona, shared a video on Twitter about broken voting machines in Maricopa County, followed by a series of posts suggesting that the problems were intentional,” The Times’ Sheera Frenkel and Steven Lee Myers wrote. “’This is manufactured chaos,’ he wrote, calling for those responsible to be arrested.”
“The video was shared nearly 20,000 times and liked by more than 30,000 users, including many prominent accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers. The post and others like it on a dozen online platforms kindled a false narrative of widespread voting shenanigans among those predisposed to believe that the country’s elections are rigged.”
In addition to hosting his talk show, Kirk is also the founder of right wing student activist group Turning Point USA, and he is a member of the highly-secretive far Christian right organization, Council for National Policy (CNP).
Fast forward to Tuesday.
Here’s Kirk complaining to Steve Bannon that Republicans didn’t vote in the November, 2022 election several weeks ago, “because a lot of people do not trust the system.”
Charlie Kirk says there was a poor Republican turnout in AZ because their voters think elections are rigged: “400,000 people that voted for Trump in 2020 did not show up or vote for the midterm election. I believe it’s because a lot of people do not trust the system.” pic.twitter.com/UJvHiCQfQm
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) November 29, 2022
Watch Kirk’s video above or at this link.
RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses
Embattled Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel is launching two advisory groups in an effort to expand the party’s appeal to voters and examine what went wrong in the wake of stunning, historic midterm election losses – and she’s turning to some of the right’s most extreme leaders to perform the investigations.
Political analysts on both sides of the aisle generally agree that Donald Trump, Trumpism, the party’s lurch to far right wing extremism including white nationalism, white supremacy, Christian nationalism, antisemitism, authoritarianism, fascism, and the “Big Lie” of stolen elections hurt, not helped candidates in the 2022 midterms.
McDaniel has now tapped some of the very purveyors of that failed extremism to lead the shrinking party’s efforts to broaden its outreach and correct its errors.
“The RNC is tapping nearly a dozen people to serve in what it’s calling a ‘Republican Party Advisory Council’ – a group that includes former Donald Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, evangelical leader Tony Perkins and a pair of Senate candidates who ran this year,” Politico reports.
Tony Perkins is a far right wing religious extremist and anti-LGBTQ activist who decades ago reportedly had ties to white supremacist groups, which he has denied. For decades he has been president of the Family Research Council, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.
Deeply embedded in Republican theocratic politics, Perkins was appointed twice by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent federal government body that has a history of advancing the agenda of America’s Evangelical Christian movement.
He is also a past president of the highly-secretive far Christian right organization, Council for National Policy (CNP).
CNP’s members are believed to include far right activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas, whose attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results have been the subject of numerous reports. Also, Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, which has faced allegations of racism, and far right conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi. Other members of the Council for National Policy include two other heads of organizations that appear on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups: Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel; and Tim Wildmon, President of the American Family Association.
“The panel will also include former Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, who in the wake of his loss has called on the party to move on from ‘consultant one-size-fits-all strategies,'” Politico reports.
Masters is a “Big Lie” purveyor who has also promoted the white nationalist conspiracy theory of the “Great Replacement,” which falsely claims immigrants – people of color – are “replacing” white Americans.
Separately, Politico adds, the RNC is commissioning an investigation into what went wrong, commonly referred to as an “autopsy” to ensure in future elections the same decisions are not made. That work will be lead by current RNC members.
‘Lowest Common Denominator’: Trump Refuses to Denounce White Supremacist He Dined With Despite Advisers’ Urgings
It’s been nearly a week since Donald Trump had dinner at his home at Mar-a-Lago with antisemite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes, and yet he continues to refuse to denounce him or his extremist views.
Multiple advisers have urged Trump to denounce Fuentes, who has a long history of promoting white supremacism, but he has been “rejecting” their advice “over fears he might alienate a section of his base, two people familiar with the situation said.”
Fuentes, according to Trump, came to dinner at the behest of Kanye West, the former president’s invited dinner guest. He says the disgraced artist did not tell him in advance he was bringing “friends.” In addition to Fuentes, those friends reportedly include Milo Yiannopoulos, who has advocated for older men having sex with young teen boys, and Trump 2016 aide Karen Giorno, who was reportedly involved in a pay-for-pardon scheme.
West has also been increasingly viewed as antisemitic, especially after threatening to “go death con 3 on Jewish people.” That remark “conveyed a clear violence to many who saw it,” The Times of Israel reported last month.
Trump has a long history of refusing to denounce white supremacists and white nationalists. His refusal to denounce former KKK leader David Duke, when still a presidential candidate in 2016, has become an infamously defining moment for Trump.
“I don’t know anything about David Duke,” Trump told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with ‘white supremacy’ or ‘white supremacists,’” Trump insisted. “I know nothing about white supremacists.”
“I have to look at the group,” Trump continued, when asked he would condemn white supremacists and say he does not want their vote. “You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about?”
That’s extremely similar to Trump’s initial response when news broke he had dined with Fuentes.
Trump on his Truth Social platform described the white supremacist as someone “whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”
On MSNBC Monday morning, Politico’s Jonathan Lemire noted, “this strain of white nationalism is becoming more central to what today’s Republican Party is about.” He added that Trump is “trying to play to the lowest common denominator to try and keep some supporters in check.”
Fuentes is not just a white supremacist, a white Christian nationalist, a Holocaust “denier,” and a supporter of authoritarianism – along with holding other extremist views. He is a political commentator who has a large following and is seen as the head of a white supremacist movement. Fuentes is also the founder of the annual America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC), a white nationalism alternative to the already extremist Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) last year warned Fuentes is “a white supremacist leader and organizer and podcaster who seeks to forge a white nationalist alternative to the mainstream GOP.”
But ADL also notes Fuentes “promoted election fraud narratives and encouraged his adherents to participate in nationwide “Stop the Steal” protests,” and “served as an organizer and speaker at many ‘Stop the Steal’ protests,” which may be yet another reason Trump has refused to denounce him.
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