The One America News Network host who mused about the possibility of mass executions of Democrats told TPM Thursday that he was simply reporting on the potential legal ramifications that would exist in a scenario in which there was a massive conspiracy to steal an election.
He was not, he said, cheering for mass death.
The denial from OAN host Pearson Sharp came after TPM reported on his comments regarding the penalty for treason in the United States, which Sharp discussed in light of the lies his network has told about the 2020 election.
“What are the consequences for traitors who meddled with our sacred democratic process and tried to steal power by taking away the voices of the American people? What happens to them?” Sharp wondered aloud in a monologue. “Well, in the past, America had a very good solution to dealing with such traitors: Execution.”
TPM asked Sharp by email about the monologue, noting that it seemed to embrace executing thousands of people for purported election crimes. (Sharp had asked his viewers, “How many people were involved in these efforts to undermine the election. Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands?”)
“No, neither myself, nor OAN is ‘embracing executing thousands of people,’” Sharp replied. “OAN is simply pointing out that if election fraud is proven, then it could very well constitute treason. And according to our laws, treason is punishable by death. If it is found that government officials coordinated with foreign countries to overthrow the election, then that would be the very definition of treason. Which, according to our nation’s laws, could result in execution.”
He then helpfully directed TPM to the federal law defining treason and its punishment, death.
“These are simply facts,” he said. “You may disagree with the suggestion that election fraud was committed. However, it is indisputable that the US has laws which lay out consequences for committing certain crimes, including treason. This report is only making that point clear.”
That seemed to be a pretty big hedge from the comments Sharp made on air — namely that execution had been a “very good solution for dealing with such traitors” in the past, and that “radical Democrats left fingerprints all over the country, providing a trail of evidence that the 2020 election was not only tampered with, but was actually overthrown.”
“I’m simply reporting that conspiring against the government to overthrow an election, with the help of a foreign government, would be treason,” Sharp said in a subsequent email. “If that is investigated, and if that is proven, then US laws maintain that execution is a legal punishment for those crimes. That is the extent of the report.”
Some OAN fans greeted Sharp’s speculation with enthusiasm: One viewer posted a video of himself watching the monologue, shouting “They get hung!” when the host asked what happens to traitors.
“Neither I, nor OAN, are suggesting anyone should be executed,” Sharp told TPM. “That is for the appropriate law enforcement agencies to determine.” He also denied that OAN was advocating for “vigilantism.”
“Execution for treason is strictly a legal process,” he wrote.
Sharp said that given “numerous reported cases of apparently fraudulent activity, it does appear election fraud was committed.”
The host seems to have made up his mind about election fraud months ago: In December, he told OAN viewers that there was “staggering evidence of voting fraud” — hundreds of thousands thousands of fraudulent votes across the country, including dead voters, out-of-state voters, and double voters, all of which Sharp reported as settled fact.
He said near the end of that December report: “This is the situation we’re dealing with. The evidence for fraud is greater than it ever had been, and yet the mainstream media and Democrats are completely ignoring it. Or worse, they’re actually complicit in covering up the greatest election fraud in American history, all with the goal of undermining democracy and overthrowing the duly-elected President of the United States.”
Months later — after an attack on the Capitol fueled by lies and the inauguration of a new president — Sharp was still at it.
“There’s still serious doubts about who’s actually president,” he reported in late March.