Roger Stone says he wasn't advocating violence, but his style of rhetoric is known to incite it.
Donald Trump’s former campaign adviser and longtime ally Roger Stone promised that any attempt to impeach Trump would lead to all-out war.
In an interview with TMZ, Stone taunted members of Congress who have called for Trump’s impeachment and warned that they would endanger their own lives if they voted for it.
“The people who are calling for impeachment are the people who didn’t vote for him. Sorry, he whipped your a–. It’s over, you lost,” Stone said.
“Try to impeach him — just try it,” Stone jeered. “You will have a spasm of violence in this country — an insurrection — like you’ve never seen.”
When the reporter asked if he was serious, Stone said there was “no question” his prediction of violence would come true if Congress tries to move forward with articles of impeachment.
“The people will not stand for impeachment,” Stone promised. “A politician who votes for it would be endangering their own life.”
Later in the interview, Stone claimed he wasn’t advocating violence, but was only “predicting it.”
Stone first began working with Trump in the 1980s and was one of the earliest members of his 2016 presidential campaign team. Even after his official departure from the Trump campaign, Stone continued to advise from the outside and still remains in regular contact with Trump.
The self-described “dirty trickster” is no stranger to threats and intimidation.
Last year, Stone said he was planning “#DaysOfRage” protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to stop any effort by delegates to “steal” the nomination from Trump. He then threatened to send Trump supporters to the hotel rooms of delegates who may be thinking of switching their vote from Trump to another candidate, leading to calls to investigate his actions as a criminal offense.
Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, said “a plausible case can be made that this would constitute menacing.” https://t.co/7ZsRBi5rP0
— Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) April 10, 2016
Stone also has a history of calling for violence against politicians he views as opponents. In July 2014, Stone said in a tweet that Hillary Clinton “must be brought to justice — arrested, tried, and executed for murder.” He also once said that Bernie Sanders should be “arrested for treason and shot,” and that “angry citizens should find and hang” Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy.
Of course, the use of incendiary rhetoric is nothing new for Trump and members of his inner circle.
In May 2016, Secret Service investigated Trump’s butler for saying that President Obama “should be shot as an enemy agent,” and just a few months later, Trump adviser Al Baldasaro said Clinton “should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.” Not long after that, Trump issued his now-infamous remarks suggesting that “Second Amendment people” could stop Clinton.
While Trump and his White House claim he doesn’t condone violence, he has repeatedly called for and encouraged the use of violence as a political tool. He even thanked his supporters for being “vicious” and “violent” in the lead-up to the 2016 election.
As law professor David Cohen pointed out last year, Trump is using the same rhetorical strategy that extremists use to incite violence among their followers. Known as “stochastic terrorism,” the strategy involves using pointed and suggestive language that inspires random people to carry out violent acts, but without explicitly telling them to do so.
“Predicting any one particular individual following his call to use violence against Clinton or her judges is statistically impossible,” Cohen explained. “But we can predict that there could be a presently unknown lone wolf who hears his call and takes action in the future.”
“Stated differently,” Cohen continued, “Trump puts out the dog whistle knowing that somedog will hear it, even though he doesn’t know which dog.”
This is exactly what Roger Stone did Thursday when he promised that “people will not stand for impeachment” and that moving forward with impeachment proceedings would lead to “violence” and “insurrection.” This type of rhetoric is especially likely to lead to violence at times when tensions are already high — like they are right now.
At some point, one must begin to wonder if that’s the goal.