Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has been banned from Twitter after he called for the beheading of Dr Anthony Fauci and the FBI director Christopher Wray.
The action comes as Donald Trump supporters – some of them armed with rifles and handguns – descended on election counting centres after the president made unsubstantiated allegations that the vote is being stolen from him.
Mr Bannon, who is currently on bail after pleading not guilty to charges of fraud and money laundering, made the comments during an online show in which he criticised the men for not supporting the president enough.
Dr Fauci, who is the head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has warned that the US government’s strategy for tackling COVID-19 needs an “abrupt change”.
Bannon has previously criticised Mr Wray for allegedly failing to investigate a hard drive allegedly owned by Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, the contents of which were leaked to the New York Post in “highly suspicious” circumstances.
After initially calling for Dr Fauci and Mr Wray to be fired, Mr Bannon added: “I’d actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England. I’d put their heads on pikes.
“I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you’re gone.”
The conversation with his co-host, Jack Maxey, continued with Maxey stating: “Just yesterday there was the anniversary of the hanging of two Tories in Philadelphia.
“These were Quaker businessmen who had cohabitated, if you will, with the British while they were occupying Philadelphia. These people were hung. This is what we used to do to traitors.”
Bannon responded: “That’s how you won the revolution. No one wants to talk about it. The revolution wasn’t some sort of garden party, right? It was a civil war. It was a civil war.”
Following these comments, Twitter permanently banned the Steve Bannon’s War Room account, while YouTube and Facebook also deleted the video, all saying it violated their policies on inciting violence.
A spokesperson for Mr Bannon said Mr Bannon “did not, would not and has never called for violence of any kind”, adding that his “commentary was clearly meant metaphorically”.
The former chief strategist had been arrested on a yacht in relation to fundraising for the controversial Mexico border wall earlier this year.
The US Department of Justice said the charges relate to We Build The Wall, a fundraising campaign to support the building of a border wall between the US and Mexico.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Bannon, along with three others, “orchestrated a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors” in connection with the online crowdfunding campaign, which raised more than $ 25m (£19m).
The charges against Bannon, 66, and three others, Brian Kolfage, 38, Andrew Badolato, 56, and Timothy Shea, 49, were contained in an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court.
According to the indictment, Bannon promised that 100% of the money donated would be used for the project, but the defendants allegedly used hundreds of thousands of dollars in a manner inconsistent with the organisation’s public representations.
They allegedly faked invoices and sham “vendor” arrangements in a bid to hide what was really happening, the indictment added.