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One last chance to save Trump, Roger Stone says

The right-wing provocateur spoke to the Tampa Bay Trump Republican Club in Clearwater.
In this 2019 file photo, Roger Stone arrives at federal court in Washington.
In this 2019 file photo, Roger Stone arrives at federal court in Washington. [ CLIFF OWEN | AP ]
Published Dec. 17, 2020
Updated Dec. 18, 2020

Former Donald Trump adviser and right-wing provocateur Roger Stone told a crowd of Trump backers in Clearwater this week that the Jan. 6 congressional count of Electoral College votes is the last chance to save Donald Trump’s presidency, and urged them to tell Florida’s two senators to object to the count.

Stone, who has raised the possibility he’ll challenge Sen. Marco Rubio in a 2022 primary, also took a shot at Rubio during his speech to the Tampa Bay Trump Republican Club.

Some Trump backers are angry over Rubio’s lukewarm support for Trump’s efforts to overturn the presidential election.

“Tell Marco Rubio, ‘Stand up, Marco – Oh, you are standing up,’ " Stone said, a dig at Rubio’s height.

Related: Marco Rubio may face a Florida primary challenge in 2022. Here’s why.

It’s expected a House member will object to the normally ceremonial Electoral College vote count, but a senator would have to agree to trigger hearings.

About half of Stone’s hour-long speech focused on his own criminal case, in which he was convicted of lying to Congress during the investigation of the Trump 2016 campaign.

Stone said he was “lynched” in a “Soviet-style show trial.”

Trump commuted his sentence, but Stone said repeatedly in his speech that he hopes Trump will grant him a full pardon.

Stone, a self-described “libertine” and master of political dirty tricks, also said he avoided prison because after talking to evangelist Franklin Graham, “I confessed my sins and I agreed to return to the church and walk in the way of Jesus Christ – and precisely as the Psalms tell you he will deliver you from those who seek to persecute you.”

Stone vilified Democrats, news agencies and federal investigators in a speech that roused a crowd that club President James Stratton estimated at 275 at a sports bar. The event raised money and merchandise for the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranch and Eckerd Connects.