There were just as many journalists, not to mention cops, as protesters outside the National Republican Congressional Committee building in Washington, D.C., where a small crowd of right-wing activists and kids held Trump-Pence signs with the words “Stop the Steal” written in sharpie in the margin.
Led by right-wing political operative Ed Martin, the group was there as part of the “Stop the Steal” campaign, orchestrated by fellow GOP operative Ali Alexander to stop vote-counting in key states in the presidential race between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden by pushing the false narrative of mass voter fraud.
Alexander, who launched “Stop the Steal” in 2018 in Florida’s Senate race with convicted felon Roger Stone, rebooted the effort Wednesday after Trump declared premature victory and accused Democrats of voter fraud. The race was still far from being decided at that hour, and as mail-in ballots were counted Wednesday morning, Biden took the lead.
Along with his right-wing buddies, Alexander has put together rallies across the country in key states, including in Phoenix, Arizona, Wednesday night with fellow “Pizzagate” booster Mike Cernovich and Rep. Paul Gosar. Martin, who is also president of the Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, was put in charge of organizing the D.C. rally as well as nationally with Amy Kremer of Women for Trump and Women for America First. Women for America First created a “Stop the Steal” Facebook group that gained more than 360,000 followers in just one day; it was removed from Facebook midday Thursday for violating the platform’s rules.
Holding a makeshift sign scrawled with the words “Do Your Job!” Martin spoke to the gathered media and called on Republican Party leadership to get behind his group’s false calls of voter fraud and Trump’s false declaration of victory.
“Republican elected officials have benefited from what Donald Trump did on Tuesday, his victory in the election, in two concrete ways. No. 1, for years now, this building has garnered hundreds of millions of dollars using his name,” Martin said. “And they have done that intentionally, they have done it on purpose, and they have done it with his permission. But that has been their benefit.”
“The second thing that they did was on Tuesday, there were coattails across the country, there were coattails in the House and Senate races because of Donald Trump’s policies,” Martin said. “Republican leaders, elected officials, must do their job and stop the steal. They must do their job and stop the steal, from Ronna McDaniel at the RNC, Kevin McCarthy at the RNCC … and over on the Senate side, from McConnell, Cornyn, all those people need to step up and do their job.”
Martin eventually clarified exactly what he wanted these Congress members to do: “They should be in front of the camera.”
“The Republican leadership and elected officials should publicly say, every one of them, they want the steal to stop, they want the vote to be count—legal votes counted,” he said, before claiming Democratic officials are throwing Republican poll watchers out of polling places and that Wisconsin and Arizona have not been decided (they have) and lashing out at Fox News for reporting that Biden won both.
“If, right now, if Kevin McCarthy had his caucus on the steps of the Congress and said, ‘Here we are, we believe in the president, stop the steal,’ it would stop the steal,” Martin said. “Same thing with McConnell.”
Martin was the only figure to speak, and after his roughly 15-minute speech, the media milled about asking questions and taking pictures of the small crowd that slowly dispersed.