NC senator says he’d support suspension of civil liberties


North Carolina state Sen. Bob Steinburg knew he’d get a lot of blowback after suggesting that President Donald Trump could suspend civil liberties to protest an election they both believe was stolen.

And that was fine with him.

“All the liberals are just going nuts today,” he said Wednesday. “Somebody has got to stand up and risk being ridiculed, laughed at and scorned, And right now that’s me.”

Steinburg’s comments, first reported Tuesday night by WRAL, found a national audience Wednesday in the Washington Post.

On Facebook, the Republican from northeast Chowan County posted comments from controversial retired Gen. Thomas McInerney, who said that Trump should suspend civil liberties and invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act, which would allow the president to deploy the military to quell domestic disorder.

Steinburg said while he was simply posting the general’s comments, he might also support curtailing civil liberties. He compared it to North Carolina’s restrictions to stem the spread of COVID-19.

“If there were reasons to do it then civil liberties would be suspended for a short period of time,” he told the Observer. “But our civil liberties in North Carolina have been abridged since March. If Donald Trump invoked this executive order, if he thought there was foreign intervention, then, yes, I support it.”

Steinburg, 72, said he doesn’t believe Democrat Joe Biden won the election.

“Hell no,” he said. “There’s no way he’s president-elect. I think not only did President Trump win but I think President Trump won by at least 10 million votes.”

Steinburg’s comments to WRAL drew fired from Democratic Senate colleagues.

“Joe Biden will be our next president because he won fair and square, by more than 7 million votes,” said Sen. Natasha Marcus of Davidson. “Elected officials shouldn’t be fueling baseless conspiracy theories that undermine our democratic process. Sen. Steinburg’s remarks are undemocratic, irresponsible and, frankly, alarming.”

In a tweet, Democratic Sen. Sam Searcy of Wake County called Steinburg’s comments “embarrassing & dangerous.”

“Republicans in the #NCGA should immediately denounce these remarks,” he said.

It’s not the first time Steinburg has come under fire for social media posts. He has criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and efforts to remove Confederate monuments.

Earlier this month he posted, “It’s 1776 in America again. Our country and its Constitution will not be stolen or compromised and we will never heel to Deep State Corruption or Communist China — Ever!!”

Asked what evidence he has that the election was rigged against the president, he has cited controversial articles in Epoch Times, which the New York Times called “a leading purveyor of right-wing misinformation.” He also called attention this month to a news conference featuring Sidney Powell, a North Carolina native who was on Trump’s legal team pushing conspiracy theories about the election.

Steinburg said he’s not worried about Monday’s Electoral College vote, which made Biden’s victory official. He said that could change when Congress meets Jan. 6 to accept the results. A handful of Republicans are expected to fight it.

Steinburg doesn’t expect the media to portray him fairly.

“I am not John Brown at Harper’s Ferry,” he said. “This is the way some in the media like to portray you, that I’m some kind of crazy man.”

He plans to continue making his arguments when he starts a podcast in January.

“People can choose to listen to me or not,” Steinburg said. “But they can’t silence me. We’re going to be keeping the heat on.”



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