By Teo ArmusJan. 13, 2021
Weeks before a mob of President Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, right-wing activist Ali Alexander told his followers he was planning something big for Jan. 6.
Alexander, who organized the “Stop the Steal” movement, said he hatched the plan — coinciding with Congress’s vote to certify the electoral college votes — alongside three GOP lawmakers: Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Mo Brooks (Ala.) and Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.), all hard-line Trump supporters.
“We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting,” Alexander said in a since-deleted video on Periscope highlighted by the Project on Government Oversight, an investigative nonprofit. The plan, he said, was to “change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside.”
After riots inside the Capitol left five people dead — and Alexander and his group were banned from Twitter this week — those three GOP lawmakers are now under increasing scrutiny over their role in aiding the right-wing activist.
In a statement to The Washington Post, a spokesman for Biggs said the congressman had never been in contact with Alexander or other protesters and denied he had helped organize a rally on Jan. 6.
“Congressman Biggs is not aware of hearing of or meeting Mr. Alexander at any point — let alone working with him to organize some part of a planned protest,” the statement said.
Neither Brooks nor Gosar responded to requests for comment from The Washington Post. But in a lengthy, defiant statement on Wednesday, the Alabama lawmaker insisted he also bore no responsibility for the riot. Brooks added he would not have promoted any action that could undermine GOP efforts to block the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory.
“I take great offense at anyone who suggests I am so politically inexperienced as to want to torpedo my honest and accurate election system effort I spent months fighting on,” Brooks wrote.AD
Videos and posts on social media suggest links between all three Republicans and the right-wing activist.
Alexander, a felon who has also been identified in media reports as Ali Akbar, gained a large following by live-streaming monologues in which he professed his conservative views and support for Trump. Speaking to Politico Magazinein 2018, he called himself an “interpreter of energy for this period.”
In June 2019, Donald Trump Jr. retweeted Alexander’s false claim that Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris is not an “American Black.” The following month, Alexander attended a “social media summit” at the White House, alongside a number of far-right figures who had accused companies of anti-conservative bias.
After Trump lost in November, the Daily Beast noted, Alexander positioned himself as a leading voice behind the movement to support the president’s challenge to the election results. He was labeled “a true patriot” by Gosar on Twitter, and on Dec. 19, the two both spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Phoenix.
“We will not go quietly. We’ll shut down this country if we have to,” Alexander told the crowd, later leading them in a chant of “1776.”