Michael Stenger, Senate sergeant-at-arms on the day of the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, died on June 27. He had reached the age of seventy-one.
Since 2018, Stenger had been the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms. He and several Capitol security employees resigned immediately after the uprising.
As a result of a lack of knowledge, social media users concocted their own theories about his demise. Surprise hearings in Congress fueled conjecture about the Jan. 6 attack, as well.
The news of Stenger’s death spread like wildfire over social media and other online platforms, fueling speculations and conspiracy theories regarding the Jan. 6 attack, his death, and Hillary Clinton.
What Was the Reason for Michael Stenger‘s Death?
As of June 30, the reason of Stenger’s death has not yet been determined. A report by NBC News stated that his death was not considered suspicious. According to two unidentified sources cited by the Associated Press, he died of natural causes. As reported by Fox News, he was suffering from cancer.
Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, put pressure on Mr. Stenger to quit a day after mobs backing President Trump took to the streets. As the next Democratic majority leader, Senator Charles Schumer of New York has pledged to remove Mr. Stenger from office should he still be in the office on January 20, 2021.
Sergeant-at-arms Stenger’s duties included enforcing Senate regulations and scheduling official visits as well as serving as the Senate’s top law enforcement officer. The revolt threw him a curveball as he had never faced before.
When the National Guard couldn’t get to the Capitol in time to count the Electoral College ballots on January 6, he was at the heart of the problem.
Steven Sund, Capitol Police chief, requested permission from Mr. Stenger and Paul Irving, his House counterpart, to call in the National Guard after receiving information warning of possible violence on that day.
“If we would have had the National Guard,” Chief Sund told The Washington Post five days after the riots, “we could have held them at bay longer until more officers from our partner agencies could arrive.”
How Do Social Posts predict About the Timings?
Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., sparked a wave of speculation about the strange timing of Stenger’s death.
When Stenger passed away on June 27, the House Jan. 6 committee planned an emergency hearing for the next day, June 28. Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top adviser to Mark Meadows, the final chief of staff of former President Donald Trump, testified at the session.
Twitter user Greene provided a video of Stenger testifying before Congress in February 2021 that future Jan. 6 investigations should look into “financing and travel of what seems to be professional agitators,” which he referred to as “professionals.”
It’s not the first time Greene has spread unfounded claims that left-wing Antifa activists or FBI agents provoked violence in the crowd on January 6. Conspiracy theories of this nature quickly spread among right-wing online forums.
“‘Dies suddenly’ before testifying is suspicious,” said one post calling Stenger’s death a “murder” on Truth Social, Trump’s social media app. “The January 6th panel is desperate to cover up the Democrat/FBI/Antifa orchestrated event to disrupt the objections to the 2020 election fraud.”
“Former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger Testified that Paid Professional Agitators Were Operating at Jan. 6 Riot — NOW HE’S DEAD (VIDEO),” read a headline on the Gateway Pundit, a pro-Trump blog site with a history of spreading false and misleading claims.
Was He Actually Shot and Killed?
When social media users reported Stenger’s death, they said he was shot and murdered while crossing the street near an apartment where he was purportedly living.
“I just found this #Stenger arrived in a friend’s car and was dropped off across the street,” said one June 27 tweet responding to the news of his death, the first post-PolitiFact found making this claim. “As Stenger crossed the street toward his apartment, he was shot and killed. The shooting was partially captured on surveillance video from cameras on a nearby building.”
Rumors were spreading over social media, including Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Reddit, and even Gettr.
The long-running conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have a large “body count” of people they’ve slaughtered was invoked in several social media posts accusing Clinton of orchestrating Stenger’s murder.