“It’s a War,” right-wing activist Ed Martin declared in the subject line of an email to supporters Thursday morning after mass protests against the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, a black man, continued for a ninth night.
Martin’s email linked to a tweet in which Martin declared, “It’s a war – Us v. Those that Hate America; we have to win!” Martin amplified that message in the Periscope broadcast attached to his tweet. “We are at war,” he said of the protests. “It’s not about racial justice.”
In the video message Martin filmed from his car Wednesday, he called for “massive amounts of force” to be deployed against protesters. Martin said that he supports justice for Floyd, but he charged that the protest organizers’ real goal is to “destroy this country.”
“We’re at war with people that don’t believe in our Constitution, our rights to property, life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, and they don’t believe in our founding value,” he said. Martin said this week’s protests are part of a “50-year war” that “started in the late 60s” with people who were trying to violently subvert American institutions.
Martin said “massive force should be executed” against perpetrators of violence. And he said that anyone out after curfew is by definition not a peaceful protester. “If you’re showing up after the curfews to do things like have a ‘peaceful protest’—after the curfews, there’s no peaceful protest going on right now. You’re breaking the law, and you ought to be—massive force should be executed on you to move you back and arrest you if you have to.”
“It’s not a time,” Martin said, “to debate how we treat people” or “to debate political correctness. It’s not a time to wonder what we can do. It’s a time for real action, fearless action.”
“Antifa, Black Lives Matter—any of these groups that are organizing it—they have to be treated like terrorists, because that’s what they’ve been doing,” he continued.
“We have to be ruthless,” Martin said, calling for police tp track down people who break the law during protests and hold them in jail without bail, Martin said.
“If the rioters really want justice, what exactly does that look like?” Martin asked in his email. “Seriously, what can we possibly do that would make them happy? Black Lives Matter won’t actually say what they hope to accomplish.”
“There may be people that have a complaint about racial justice,” he said in his video. “We should talk about it. But it’s not about that fundamentally. It’s about people that are trying to destroy this country.”
Martin charged that protest organizers have no goal beyond mayhem:
Have you noticed? Antifa doesn’t want anything. Black Lives Matter hasn’t said what they want. Now, a couple of their leaders or someone is now saying, ‘We want this’ or ‘We want that.’ They don’t really seem to want anything. Except they do want something. They want to destroy America. And they want to kill more people and turn us against each other.
For the record, Black Lives Matter’s website has plenty of information about the movement’s goals and its efforts to mobilize people to participate in the 2020 election “to build collective power and to ensure candidates are held accountable for the issues that systematically and disproportionately impact Black and under-served communities across the nation.” BLM calls for funds to be transferred from police departments to community investments. Its website includes information for small business owners and people who have lost jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And of course, as its name suggests, it calls for black life to be valued as much as any other.
A video promoting BLM’s #WhatMatters2020 campaign asks, “Can you imagine an America in which oppression and fear are dissolved? Where we are whole and healed?”
Martin may not agree with BLM’s agenda, but it is emphatically dishonest to say that the movement “doesn’t seem to want anything” except to “destroy America.” In fact, Martin has demonstrated the accuracy of a statement on BLM’s website, which notes, “Black Lives Matter is a central target of disinformation.”
Martin worked with and for the late Phyllis Schlafly. He runs Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, an organization that emerged from an ugly split among her supporters toward the end of her life. He was a co-author with Schlafly of “The Conservative Case for Trump,” a book published in 2016. He was hired by CNN as a pro-Trump commentator in September 2017, a move that provoked the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to describe “Shameless Ed” as a “disgraced chief of staff to Gov. Matt Blunt” who will “say almost anything”—a trait that got him fired from CNN just a few months after he started. Martin ran for a seat on the Fairfax County board of supervisors in Virginia’s elections last year, losing by about 30 percentage points.
(This post was updated to include additional identifying information about Martin.)