The Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo will reportedly soon be getting a chance to audition for a primetime Fox News slot. And based on her performance Monday morning, telling fantasyland stories about the mob that attacked the Capitol may just be part of the job.
On “Mornings with Maria Bartiromo” Monday, Bartiromo mentioned a recent report of an FBI warning that adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory may try to disguise themselves as National Guard troops for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday.
Then Bartiromo offered her own aside: “…the way Democrats infiltrated two weeks ago and put on MAGA clothing.”
Fox anchor Maria Bartiromo: “A new report says that some far-right protesters have discussed posing as members of the National Guard to infiltrate the inauguration — the way Democrats infiltrated two weeks ago and put on MAGA clothing” https://t.co/pi4wyM1ZdN pic.twitter.com/nWA01TvHbr
— Media Matters (@mmfa) January 19, 2021
If Bartiromo was referring to specific Democrats donning red hats, it wasn’t clear who she was talking about: a Fox News spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.
But the theory that liberals or “antifa” infiltrated the crowd or otherwise acted as provocateurs has been floated since the early hours after the attack began.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) read the conspiracy theory into the congressional record on the night of Jan. 6, citing a Washington Times article that in turn cited “a retired military officer” who, in turn, cited the facial recognition company XR Vision.
It didn’t take long for the story to fall apart. XR Vision demanded a retraction from the Times, calling the story “outright false, misleading, and defamatory.” The article is now updated with an apology to the company.
Even one of the rioters initially falsely identified as antifa was mad: “Let ’em say what they will,” Alabama man Will Watson griped in a Snapchat message picked up by prosecutors and local media. “The fake news won’t win against the thousands of patriots who recorded today.”
But the facts on the ground haven’t dissuaded the theory’s champions.
Prominent Republicans like Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) and Rudy Giuliani, who both spoke the morning of the riot, have embraced the antifa hoax line. Both men, it so happens, spoke openly of violence that morning before the President took the stage: Brooks said “today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass!” Giuliani, shortly after, demanded “trial by combat!” over election fraud claims.