South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) on Wednesday dove head first into an alt-right conspiracy theory that the students who are advocating for gun control after 17 people were killed at a Florida high school last month are being “used as a tool by these left wing groups.”
Discussing the national day of protest, in which students across the country walked out of their classrooms Wednesday to protest gun violence and demand stricter gun laws, McMaster told South Carolina’s Education TV that it was a “shameful” move by a “left wing group.”
“It appears these school children, innocent school children, are being used as a tool by these left-wing groups to further their own agenda,” he said in a video flagged by CNN. “It is not about the tragedy, it is not about the school children. … This is a tricky move, I believe, by a left-wing group, from the information I’ve seen, to use these children as a tool to further their own means. It sounds like a protest to me. It’s not a memorial, it’s certainly not a prayer service, it’s a political statement by a left-wing group and it’s shameful.”
McMaster isn’t the first Republican to make such claims.
In the days following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month, alt-right groups theorized that the students who were vocally advocating for gun reform were paid “crisis actors” and pawns of liberal groups that want to promote gun control.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was quick to squash the validity of those theories, but it didn’t stop the conspiracy from spreading. The President’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., appeared to support the claims when he liked a tweet that shared a story that attacked one of the student survivors whose father is a retired FBI agent.