At least one GOP Congressman is still carrying water for the tinfoil hat crowd with regard to the events in Charlottesville last August. In an interview with VICE, Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) claimed that the alt-right rally attended by neo-nazis and members of the KKK was orchestrated by an “Obama sympathizer” and funded by George Soros as some sort of false flag operation.
In the aftermath of the summer’s deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, conspiracy theorists came out in force. It took less than a day for familiar faces such as Alex Jones of Infowars to begin peddling baseless claims that the entire thing was a left-wing plot to stoke racial violence and discredit President Trump.
The allegations ran the gamut: The rally organizer was a “deep state” operative from Occupy Wall Street. Leftist protesters had dressed up in Nazi regalia. Billionaire investor George Soros had orchestrated the whole thing.
It was all swiftly debunked by stories in PolitiFact, Snopes, Politico and elsewhere.
Those three examples aren’t exactly unbiased, but on its face the conspiracy theory was pretty goofy. Leftists dressed as nazis and KKK showed up deliberately to fight with other leftists? To what end? It’s a theory born completely from a need to pretend we don’t have any problem children on the right.
The subject came up while Gosar was being interviewed about how he has been blocking constituents on social media. (I know people who have been blocked by left wing politicians here in Maryland and I think it’s a punk move no matter which side does it.)
“In fairness, antifa is in the news because of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville,” Vice’s Elspeth Reeve told Gosar.
“Well, isn’t that interesting. Maybe that was created by the left,” he said.
Asked to explain, Gosar responded: “Let’s look at the person that actually started the rally. It’s come to our attention that this is a person from Occupy Wall Street that was an Obama sympathizer. So, wait a minute, be careful where you start taking these people to.”
Without evidence, he went on to suggest that Soros may have funded the neo-Nazis who marched in the city.
Nearly identical claims have circulated for some time in far-right circles, many of them promoted by Jones of Infowars, Trump ally Roger Stone, conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza and websites such as Gateway Pundit.
None hold water.
No, but I imagine they get a lot of clicks from a lot of nutters who want to believe only the left has bad actors.
Let’s be clear. The events that occurred in in August weren’t really difficult to understand. White supremacists, white separatists, white nationalists, neo-nazis, or whatever you want to call them, descended on Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The misnamed left wing extremist group Antifa showed up to protest and confront them. While that may be one of the least objectionable things Antifa will ever do, it doesn’t mitigate their overall bat guano fueled intimidation routine. Their cause was briefly given a facade of decency because one of theirs was murdered by an alt-righter behaving like an ISIS jihadi. Making false accusations only weakens your legitimate attacks on them.
Leaders on the right who see a leftist conspiracy behind everything are just as bonkers as Hillary Clinton (or Harvey Weinstein) blaming right wing conspiracies for their own bad behavior. Gosar may have no major skeletons in his closet but blaming the left for the actions of the alt-right probably does more damage to the conservative cause than the alt-right’s existence does.