Roger Stone, the longtime Republican political operative and current ally of Donald Trump, says he's trying to organize protests at the Republican convention in Cleveland this summer to disrupt any effort by the party to "steal" the nomination from the frontrunner.
Stone tweeted several times on Friday evening about his plans, announcing a "Stop the Steal March on Cleveland" and calling on supporters to get to Cleveland for the convention in July.
Stone told BuzzFeed News over email that he is planning "#DaysofRage," a seeming reference to the Weatherman-organized Days of Rage protests that took place in Chicago in 1969. Asked to elaborate, Stone said he was talking about "rally-protests -at delegate hotels street theater."
Stone said the campaign was not involved in organizing this, instead saying the protests will be "organized by Trump nation," but said that "we did inform them." He said he had "issued the call to action" on Infowars, the Alex Jones-run conspiracy show, on March 30, that they "will stage protests at hotels of state delegates of states supporting the BIG STEAL," and that he and Jones would be speaking (Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul are both invited).
Stone, a colorful figure known for his dirty trickster reputation, worked for the Trump campaign until August, when he and the campaign parted ways after disagreement over Trump's feud with Megyn Kelly. But Stone still supports Trump and acknowledges talking to him even though he no longer works for him. "We just have a rhythm," Stone told GQ this week.
In the same GQ interview, Stone hinted at unrest at the convention, saying "I think there'd be extreme anger by the Trump supporters. I don't know that it would boil over into violence. Trump is certainly not advocating violence."
There have been a spate of violent incidents at Trump rallies, and the campaign appears to condone violence from the top down — Trump has stood by his campaign manager who has been charged with simple battery after grabbing a reporter, and has promised to pay legal fees for supporters who physically confront protesters. This has led to concerns that a contested convention this year could boil over into violence in Cleveland fueled by disgruntled Trump supporters; Trump himself has predicted "riots" if the convention doesn't lead to him as the nominee.
It's unclear how serious Stone is about his protest plans, but he is certainly stoking the flames of the idea that Trump is about to get the nomination stolen out from under him. "The Bush, Cruz, Rubio, Romney, Ryan, McConnell faction has united and is moving into high gear to steal the nomination from Trump," Stone wrote in a column for Infowars earlier this week.
Rosie Gray is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. Gray reports on politics and foreign policy.
Contact Rosie Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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