With the country’s eyes on Georgia and its two U.S. Senate runoffs, the pro-Trump, so-called “Stop the Steal” campaign is shifting its focus to the state with a series of events this week meant to cast doubt of the outcome of the presidential election. The events are also poised to cause more infighting within the Republican Party, which has increasingly split into two camps: those that recognize Joe Biden as president-elect and those, led by President Donald Trump, who won’t.
On Tuesday, Attorney General Bill Barr, one of Trump’s most loyal allies, said that the Justice Department found no evidence of widespread fraud, telling the Associated Press, “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.” It was a direct contradiction of Trump, who has repeatedly insisted that the election was stolen from him, launching a legal campaign led by Rudy Giuliani to push conspiracy theories alleging just that.
Barr’s comments attracted the ire of Stop the Steal’s Ali Alexander, who on Twitter compared Barr to Brutus, the Roman senator famous for taking part in the assassination of emperor Julius Caesar. Alexander quickly followed that by tweeting an old photo of Barr and Biden standing next to each other with the hashtag #StoptheCoup, alleging Barr was part of a coup to oust Trump in favor of Biden.
Alexander, a GOP political operative who previously went by the name Ali Akbar, was a leading organizer of the Nov. 14 “March for Trump,” which was also called “Stop the Steal” and “Million MAGA March.” Held in Washington, D.C., the march drew thousands of pro-Trump supporters, conspiracy theorists, hate groups, and militia groups. Speakers, including Alexander, said they’d “force” state legislatures to send Republican electors to the Electoral College to ensure that Trump stays president.
On Tuesday, coming from Arizona, where nine Republican legislators held a “hearing” Monday about the 2020 election, Alexander took to Periscope to give a video update on the handful of states in which his Stop the Steal campaign is operating, including Arizona, Michigan, and Georgia. He also shed some light on Stop the Steal’s strategy to escalate infighting within the Republican Party.
The Stop the Steal campaign is scheduled to hold a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, on Wednesday afternoon, and another at the state capitol in Atlanta on Thursday during hearings held by the Georgia Senate Government Oversight Committee to “evaluate the election process,” and by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee to take testimony of alleged “elections improprieties.” Alexander also encouraged supporters to stay for Trump’s rally Saturday in Atlanta.
Despite the repeated declarations of Georgia’s Republican secretary of state that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election, Trump, Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, and Stop the Steal leaders have alleged just that. On Wednesday, an election official gave a press conference in which he criticized Trump, Perdue, and Loeffler, detailing the death threats and sexual assault threats from people who believe Biden’s victory in the state was the result of widespread fraud directed at the secretary of state and his wife, himself, and election service contractors.
In updating his followers on Georgia, Alexander claimed that his group was making progress in the state and working with Republican legislators.
“So inside of Georgia, for four or five days, I haven’t talked about it, but there have been secret negotiations again within the Republican caucus in the state senate and state house,” Alexander claimed. “They haven’t gone as far as we wanted, but it is actually progressing.”
Likewise in Arizona, Alexander claimed to have turned out 2,000 people to rally outside the hearing in Phoenix, where the Proud Boys hate group joined Stop the Steal protesters, and reported that he is “working very closely with all nine state legislators in Arizona who were on the panel of the hearing.”
“They have a lot of evidence. And what I can tell you is that it absolutely worked because there are negotiations right now behind the scene,” he claimed. “There are negotiations behind the scene about how the Republican caucus is going to respond, and then we can call a special session. So we’re doing that.”
Despite Arizona certifying the results of the presidential election, Alexander said he was happy with the results and that “we’re primed to do a lot of great stuff.” He then lashed out at the state’s Republican governor.
“We’re talking about potentially even recalling Gov. Ducey. What does everyone think about recalling Gov. Doug Ducey?” Alexander asked. “We’re considering recalling Gov. Ducey because he’s a bastard.”
In discussing Michigan, Alexander further highlighted his campaign’s “burn it all down” mentality.
“Michigan is having its hearing right now. We have Republican leadership that is backstabbing us but are trying to give the public optics,” he said. “What you absolutely need to do is tell every single Republican member that if you do not put out a press release stating that you support a special session, then I’m going to donate money to your primary opponent when you’re up next.”
“Tell them, ‘Oh, you live in a Republican district? Good. It’ll be easier to oust you.’ So you tell them, if we don’t get press releases that say that they stand in support of the people who already support Trump, they’re gone. It’s that simple. You say, ‘Not only will I primary you, but I will encourage people if you win the primary not to vote for you in the general.’ We’ll burn it all down in the next cycle. So we’re escalating in a mature, strategic fashion. We’re giving the party an opportunity to come back to its base without burning it down immediately, but we’re willing to burn it all down.”
Towards the end of the Periscope, Alexander lashed out at a commentator and said he couldn’t conduct the Stop the Steal campaign any other way. “I’m tired of being fucking gentle,” he said. “Victory or death.”