© 2023 South Carolina Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
WRJA-FM, 88.1 Sumter, will periodically be off the air this week due to extensive maintenance to our broadcast tower. We apologize for the inconvenience. Streaming on this site, smart speakers, and the SCETV App is unaffected.

Leaked 2021 text from SC Rep. Ralph Norman calls for martial law; Congressman says message came from 'frustration'

U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman's Rock hill office issued a statement walking back his 2021 message urging martial law. Norman's text was one of hundreds discovered by media outlet Talking Points Memo.
Scott Morgan
South Carolina Public Radio
U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman's Rock Hill office issued a statement walking back his 2021 message urging martial law. Norman's text was one of hundreds discovered by media outlet Talking Points Memo.

Among the 2,319 text messages former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows turned over to the U.S. House Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, one from South Carolina Congressman Ralph Norman (R, 5th) called for former President Donald Trump to invoke martial law in the days leading up to the inauguration of then-president-elect Joe Biden.

The text, obtained by Talking Points Memo, or TPM, was made public Monday. It reads:

“Mark, in seeing what’s happening so quickly, and reading about the Dominion law suits attempting to stop any meaningful investigation we are at a point of � no return � in saving our Republic !! Our LAST HOPE is invoking Marshall Law!! PLEASE URGE TO PRESIDENT TO DO SO!!” [sic]

The message was dated Jan. 17, 2021, three days before Biden’s inauguration.

On Tuesday, Norman’s office released a statement to South Carolina Public Radio, in which the congressman pulled back from his request to Meadows. It reads:

“Obviously, Martial Law was never warranted. That text message came from a source of frustration, on the heels of countless unanswered questions about the integrity of the 2020 election, without any way to slow down and examine those issues prior to the inauguration of the newly elected president.”

The text itself underscores the turmoil surrounding the 2020 presidential election, which was pocked with debunked claims of illegitimacy, fraud, and rigged voting machines.

The log Meadows provided to the select committee, according to TPM, does not include a response to Norman’s message.

Norman’s message was one of at least 364 messages received from Republican members of Congress discussing efforts to reverse the results of the election.

Norman was an early voice in questioning the results of the 2020 election. On Nov. 9, 2020 – the day Biden was declared the victor – Norman tweeted:

“After every legal vote is counted; After unlawful votes are thrown out; After provisional ballots are reconciled; After the numerous abnormalities are investigated and fully resolved… Then – and only then – will we know who won the Presidency.”

Scott Morgan is the Upstate multimedia reporter for South Carolina Public Radio, based in Rock Hill. He cut his teeth as a newspaper reporter and editor in New Jersey before finding a home in public radio in Texas. Scott joined South Carolina Public Radio in March of 2019. His work has appeared in numerous national and regional publications as well as on NPR and MSNBC. He's won numerous state, regional, and national awards for his work including a national Edward R. Murrow.