As former Vice President Joe Biden passed President Donald Trump’s lead in a number of key swing states in the days following the November general election, Ramtha School of Enlightenment leader JZ Knight took to social media to call on the sitting president to establish a coup against what she sees as rampant voting fraud.
Around 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5, Knight published a post on Parler, a new “free speech” social media application similar to Twitter, saying that Trump should bring the military in to combat the barred legal observers.
“SIR, PLEASE STEP IN, BRING IN THE MILITARY, CREATE A LOCAL COUP’d Ta (sic), INVALIDATE ALL THE VOTES IN VOTE COUNTING AREAS, IN EVERY STATE THAT BARRED LEGAL OBSERVERS… DO IT NOW,” she wrote from her account @JZKnight.
Trump, in the weeks leading up to and in the days following the 2020 general election, has made multiple claims of widespread voter fraud without providing substantial evidence. Now, it seems, Knight wants the commander in chief to take it a step further.
A coup d’état is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group.”
She posted again a short time later that they were “watching live, the dems stealing this election, with impunity right before our eyes.”
At the time of posting on Thursday, counting was still underway in the key swing states of Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, North Carolina and Georgia, with Biden gaining an edge. On Saturday, Nov. 7, some media outlets called Pennsylvania for Biden, which if certified would very likely provide Biden victory in the Electoral College.
Shortly before the race was called for Biden, Knight again called for some type of military intervention.
“Sir, they may have BIG THIS, BIG THAT, BUT YOU HAVE US ABD WE ARE JUST AS TOUGH & SCRAPPY AS THAT ARMY OF 1776,... SO GIVE US ORDERS,” she wrote.
In an email to the Nisqually Valley News, Mike Wright, a school spokesman and a close associate of Knight, said her Parler posts speak for themselves.
“If you look at it in its entirety in the context of nationally reported events over the same time period, perhaps you will find the answers to your questions,” he wrote. “If you stay focused in on one post or one phrase in one post and then presume the meaning of one word, you will likely misunderstand the context in the larger scheme.”
Wright went on to write that there are many differing definitions of the word “coup.” He also said the phrase coup d’état makes “no sense in the context of JZ’s post.”
RSE is currently undergoing a change in its social media platforms, moving its operations over to social media networks with less regulation. On Nov. 11, the school announced via Twitter it would move its operations over to Parler and MeWe, another similar free-speech social media application that promises “No Ads. No Spyware. No BS.,” according to its landing page.
Wright wrote that they have observed censoring on platforms like Facebook, though not much on Twitter.
With the president repeatedly calling into question the validity of the election over recent weeks, and even recent months, social media sites have been quick to remove what it considers to be misinformation and disinformation that can spread quickly.
Federal organizations have placed a heavier eye on domestic election threats this cycle, as well.
In an Oct. 31 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Abass Golfrey, an assistant special agent at the FBI’s Seattle field office, said the department in previous years focused on external disruptions instead of domestic ones. But that’s changed with this election cycle, Golfrey said.
“Should they attempt to influence or engage in any activity that crosses from constitutionally protected activity to criminal activity, we will step in and try to investigate and get to the bottom of it,” Golfrey told the Wall Street Journal.
The Nisqually Valley News reached out to FBI Seattle regarding Knight’s comments.
“Though the FBI’s standard practice is to neither confirm nor deny any investigation, we take all election-related threats seriously,” spokeswoman Amy Alexander wrote in a Nov. 9 email. “There is a balance between free speech and inciting violence, and we respect the constitutional rights of all citizens while protecting the community.”
Alexander said based on evidence gathered with its partners, the FBI is able to make a determination as to whether individuals may or may not be willing to take violent action based on any reason, including the election.
“It is vital that the FBI, our law enforcement patterns, and the public work together to protect our communities as Americans exercise their rights to vote,” she continued. “We encourage members of the public to remain vigilant and immediately report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.”
Knight has been among the biggest financial contributors to the Trump campaign in Thurston County, though in previous years she has also thrown her support behind Democratic candidates.