Robert David Steele (Vivas), a 2012 candidate for the Reform Party’s presidential nomination and briefly a candidate for the Libertarian Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, died of COVID-19 last month (August 28) at the age of 69, the Maine Public reports.
Steele, an open source activist and former CIA officer and Marine, called the COVID-19 pandemic a hoax (claiming to be the first to do so) and was a proponent of the Qanon conspiracy theory (including a theory about child slave colonies on Mars). In recent months, he expressed doubts about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election and organized rallies for right wing causes.
According to Vice, in his final blog post on August 17, Steele reported, “I did test positive for whatever they’re calling ‘COVID’ today, but the bottom line is that my lungs are not functioning.” His friend Mark Tassi reported the death on an August 29 Instagram video, arguing the Florida hospital where Steele was admitted refused to administer hydroxychloroquine tablets to Steele. The death itself is now a subject of conspiracy theories.
Steele commented here at IPR a few times, most recently in July 2015 when he presented a plan for Donald Trump to win the 2016 presidential election. This followed a contentious discussion in June 2015 involving LNC chairman Nick Sarwark, which may have led Steele to end his quixotic bid for the Libertarian Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.
In 2012, Steele vied for the Reform Party’s presidential nomination, even participating in a Wikinews debate against eventual nominee Andre Barnett and football coach Robby Wells. Steele withdrew from the race before the convention, citing a lack of traction.
According to an obituary, Steele, a native of Oakton, Virginia, was cremated.