GOP House candidate touts endorsement from convicted Trump ally Roger Stone

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Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini boasted of his endorsement from the longtime political consultant, who has a history of discriminatory and questionable behavior.

Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, who is running to represent the state's 7th Congressional District, announced on Thursday that his campaign had been endorsed by Roger Stone, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump who was convicted in 2020 of lying to Congress and obstructing the Russia investigation.

The seat Sabatini is running for is currently held by Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy, who easily won reelection in 2020 by 12 percentage points. The seat has been rated "solid/safe Democratic" by multiple election analysts.

"He has my complete and total endorsement," Stone, a political consultant who also worked with former Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, said in a statement released by the Sabatini campaign Thursday. "Anthony Sabatini is a no-nonsense, hardcore, America-First Republican."

On his campaign website, Sabatini identifies himself as a "conservative fighter." He also has a track record of controversies: In 2019, Florida Democrats called for his resignation after photos of him wearing blackface in high school surfaced, something Sabatini claimed was a "silly high school prank." In 2020, amid widespread protests over the murder of George Floyd, Sabatini posted a photo of a rifle on Twitter, writing, "Attention potential 'protesters' coming near Lake County, FL. This is an AR-15—this will be a very common sight upon illegal entry at any Lake County business—FYI!"

The tweet prompted at least one of Sabatini's state House colleagues to file a written complaint against him for "inciting violence," according to local media.

And in April 2020, as COVID-19 deaths mounted in Florida, Sabatini penned an op-ed that claimed "the time to open is now."

"Instead of sitting around for an indefinite period awaiting total COVID elimination — while our economy lays in shambles — we should begin the process of re-opening as soon as possible," he wrote. "The curve of the virus has been flattened and now it is time to do what’s right."

More than 37,700 people in Florida, which implemented minimal safety measures to combat the pandemic, have died due to the virus over the past year.

Stone's endorsement adds to that list of controversies.

Stone has for years served as an informal adviser to Trump and defended the former president relentlessly as the Justice Department investigated the Trump campaign's ties with Russia.

In February 2020, Stone was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing that investigation. In December, Trump commuted Stone's sentence before he was to begin serving a 40-month prison sentence.

Stone has reportedly described himself as a "dirty trickster," and was allegedly part of the so-called "Brooks Brothers Riot" organized in Florida in 2000 to halt the recount of the presidential election results.

He also took part in the "Rally to Save America," the pro-Trump event that precipitated the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. That event was designed to rally attendees in support of overturning the 2020 election results and denying President Joe Biden's win. The Guardian later noted that Stone was sighted in Washington earlier that day with members of the far-right anti-government Oath Keepers militia.

Stone has a history of violent, racist, and misogynistic political rhetoric.

According to Media Matters, in 2014, he tweeted that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should be "executed for murder." That same year he accused Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) of being a "Soviet agent" who "should be arrested for treason and shot." He also tweeted that liberal financier George Soros should be "executed" and called for the hanging of former Democratic Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy.

During the 2016 election, Stone threatened to send Trump supporters to the hotel rooms of delegates at the Republican National Convention in order to shore up support for Trump's nomination.

Stone has repeatedly made racist and discriminatory comments, predominantly targeting members of the media, including Roland Martin, whom he has referred to using several racist slurs; a New York Times columnist, whom he described as an "elitist cunt"; and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, whom he referred to as a "muff-diver." In 2008, Stone formed a political committee to oppose Clinton's candidacy, calling it "Citizens United Not Timid," or "C.U.N.T."

Stone has also promoted several baseless conspiracy theories, according to Media Matters, claiming that the Clintons are "plausibly responsible" for at least 40 deaths, that former President George H.W. Bush "tried to kill" former President Ronald Reagan, that former President Lyndon Johnson orchestrated the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy, and suggeting the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 on 9/11 was "suspicious."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.