How a little known right-wing think tank continues to add fuel to Trump's 'Big Lie'
Former President Donald Trump may have had an overwhelming number of supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol to "stop the Steal, but one conservative think tank is still helping to perpetuate the big lie.
"Claremont Institute leaders' actions leading up to, during, and after Jan. 6 are the culmination of five years of increasingly alarmist rhetoric and calls to action from the think tank, whose embrace of Trump and Trumpism have helped mainstream fringe views into the Republican Party ecosystem by positioning themselves as the vanguard in an existential "cold civil war" between true Americans and anti-American progressives."
One leader in particular was Trump loyalists and lawyer John Eastman. Not only did he attempt to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election but he also echoed many of Trump's biggest lies about the election being stolen.
Like many of the conspiracy theorists, Eastman claimed "dead people voted" and Dominion Voting Systems' "'machines contributed to that fraud' by 'unloading the ballots from the secret folder,'" Vice reports.
“All we are demanding of Vice President Pence is this afternoon at 1 o'clock he let the legislators of the state look into this so we get to the bottom of it and the American people know whether we have control of the direction of our government or not," Eastman claimed. “We no longer live in a self-governing republic if we can't get the answer to this question. This is bigger than President Trump. It is the very essence of our republican form of government and it has to be done. And anybody that is not willing to stand up and do it does not deserve to be in the office."
As proof of the think tank leaders' actions, the publication also pointed to tweets and messages that made their stance quite clear. Vice highlighted a tweet shared by Claremont Institute president emeritus and senior fellow Brian Kennedy's tweet just one day before the Jan. 6 insurrection.
"We have been on Capitol Hill all day. We are in a constitutional crisis and also in a revolutionary moment," Kennedy tweeted on Jan. 5. “We must embrace the spirit of the American Revolution to stop this communist revolution. #HoldTheLine."
Have been on Capitol Hill all day. We are in a constitutional crisis and also in a revolutionary moment. We must embrace the spirit of the American Revolution to stop this communist revolution. #HoldTheLine— Brian T. Kennedy (@Brian T. Kennedy) 1609890778
Claremont Institute President Ryan Williams also echoed similar claims in a YouTube video saying, "The mission of the Claremont Institute is to save Western civilization."
Welcome to the Claremont Institute www.youtube.com
Political analysts have weighed in to explain just how disturbing the aflaremont Institute's actions are as there are concerns about similar incidents occurring in the future.
"Laura K. Field, a political theorist at American University, recently explained why it is so disturbing.
"It's incredibly concerning. They're desperate to take on the role of leading the charge in terms of providing arguments for the anti-democratic populism of Trump, Field explained. "They really want to do everything they can to keep Republicans in power, even if it means manipulating through bad-faith measures the levers of power."
There are also concerns about the future because ongoing attacks leveled at America's voting systems "could lead to more distrust and division and skepticism about various institutions in the medium-to-long run."
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