In September 2020, netizens circulated articles that claimed that Roger Stone, a Republican strategist and convicted felon who worked for U.S President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign, had said the president should declare martial law if he loses the 2020 election.
Martial law in the U.S
On September 11, 2020, left-wing website Media Matters reported that Roger Stone is making baseless accusations of widespread voter fraud in 2020 presidential election and is urging Donald Trump to consider several draconian measures to stay in power.
Some of the measures suggested include 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.
HuffPost published an article that states Roger Stone is calling for President Trump to declare martial law to seize power if he loses.
On September 13, Business Insider reported that in an interview with Alex Jones' far-right conspiracy-theory site, Infowars, Stone echoed claims pushed by Trump that the Democratic Party would rig the election.
Stone encouraged Trump to consider declaring martial law if he loses reelection or invokes the Insurrection Act.
By using those powers, he can order the arrest of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, the Clintons and anybody else who can be proven to be involved in "illegal activity."
Both news sites quoted Stone accurately. On September 10, 2020, Stone appeared as a guest on Jone's show where they presented a convoluted conspiracy theory of a left-wing attempt to steal the upcoming presidential election. The two did not provide any evidence on their claim.
According to Stone and Jones, the 2020 election plot involved Democratic officials, former U.S President Bill Clinton, the Democratic party and former U.S Sen. Hillary Clinton, as well as tech CEOs Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook.
Stone speculated that former U.S Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and even the staff of The Daily Beast news website, could be parties to the conspiracy. Neither of them presented concrete evidence to support their claims.
Stone said Trump could and should order the arrest of anyone suspected of orchestrating election fraud under the auspices of martial law and the Insurrection Act. According to Stone, the occurrence of election fraud will be made clear by the event of a Trump defeat.
Later in the interview, Stone said that force would be met with force, adding that "that's the way this is going to have to work." Therefore, a Trump defeat means that it is a "proof" of widespread election fraud.
Stone did say that President Trump, if he loses, could and should, under the auspices of martial law and the Insurrection Act, arrest and charge prominent figures with election fraud. The news articles that published what Stone said quoted him accurately.
Currently, President Trump is working on his reelection campaign, and his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, is getting ready for their upcoming presidential debate this September 29.