Several prominent Trump allies, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), quickly sought to shift blame for the siege of the Capitol Building Wednesday by blaming “antifa” agitators.
There’s no evidence at all to support the claims, but they allow Trump’s allies to duck accepting a tough reality — that their support of Trump’s attempt to steal a second term had in fact contributed to the interruption of the peaceful transfer of power to the Biden administration.
Before the day’s end, Gaetz had introduced the antifa agitator theory into the congressional record.
Holy shit. Matt Gaetz just said, “some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters, they were masquerading as Trump supporters and in fact were members of the violent terrorist group antifa.” pic.twitter.com/nKYecLmQEX
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 7, 2021
Also among those denying reality is the President’s son, Eric Trump, who “liked” a tweet from the Trump ally Mark Burns declaring one of the people who stormed Congress “NOT a Trump supporter,” but rather, an anti-fascist.
In fact, the subject of Burns’ and Trump’s suspicion was a well-known Trump supporter and vocal proponent of the QAnon conspiracy theory — Jake Angeli, known as QAnon Shaman. Angeli often appears in the unique outfit he wore Wednesday.
One of the organizers of the event, the right-wing activist Ali Alexander, blamed “antifa agitation” for the commotion. Before he blamed antifa for the siege of the Capitol, Alexander specifically said he didn’t denounce the unrest — though he claimed there were “agitators” that he didn’t endorse.
This is Ali Alexander, leader of the so-called Stop the Steal campaign, saying: “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this.” pic.twitter.com/0mP0xThAYP
— Kristen Doerer (@k2doe) January 6, 2021
Fox News’ employees and guests, predictably, aired their own share of antifa hoax chum.
Brit Hume, a senior political analyst for the network, said Americans shouldn’t be surprised if “leftist extremists” had infiltrated the rioters.
Do not be surprised if we learn in the days ahead that the Trump rioters were infiltrated by leftist extremists. Note: this is not to excuse any of them.
— Brit Hume (@brithume) January 7, 2021
Former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, speaking on the network Wednesday night, said “I think a lot of it is the antifa folks.” Palin lamented the fact that Americans don’t trust the media to identify the perpetrators of the siege.
“A lot of it is the media’s fault,” Palin said.
On Fox Business News, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) speculated that “anarchists” might have been involved. But just a few hours earlier, speaking before the President at the “Stop the Steal” rally Wednesday morning, Brooks proposed “kicking ass” as a way Trump supporters could solve their problems. “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass,” the congressman said.
Lou Dobbs, interviewing Brooks Wednesday night, responded by referring to “reports that there were instigators” before saying there was no evidence of the assertion. Brooks interrupted him.
“We did have some advance warning that there might be antifa elements masquerading as Trump supporters in advance of the attack on he Capitol,” the congressman said. “So there is some evidence.”
Here's Lou Dobbs and Rep. Mo Brooks baselessly speculating that the hundreds of insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol today actually may have included antifa false flag elements. pic.twitter.com/s2ffZ2Ejsc
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) January 7, 2021
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), who also spoke before Trump Wednesday morning, was more direct: “These are not Trump supporters,” he asserted, referring to a fresh regurgitation of the months-old, false trope that a “bus load of Antifa thugs” was actually to blame.
These are not Trump supporters. pic.twitter.com/ptcNp2lzrG
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) January 6, 2021
Summer Concepcion contributed reporting.