Some on right blame antifa, not Trump, for mob at Capitol
A number of conservative lawmakers and figures in the media are blaming the left-wing antifa movement, and not right-wing agitators and President Trump, for the mob insurrection at the Capitol on Wednesday that saw police overwhelmed.
The statements by the conservatives have some of the hallmarks of conspiracy theories that many others blame for the ugly events at the Capitol, which lawmakers in both parties Thursday agreed would live in infamy.
Video and photos seen around the world clearly show a pro-Trump crowd breaking through security lines and running through the Capitol, even as police try to stop them. People in the crowd carried Trump flags, wore “MAGA” hats and displayed other insignia familiar from Trump rallies.
Trump spoke to a crowd in Washington, D.C., shortly before the insurrection at the Capitol, urging them on.
Yet Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) pointed the finger at antifa, a loose collection of anti-fascist groups that has become a familiar punching bag for the right, in a fiery floor speech Wednesday night, saying left-wing agitators had disguised themselves as Trump supporters.
He cited an article from The Washington Times claiming that a facial recognition analysis identified some of the rioters as antifa. Gaetz said “I don’t know if the reports are true” before using them to deflect the blame for Wednesday’s events, which forced the evacuation of the House and Senate.
“I don’t know if the reports are true, but The Washington Times has just reported — with some pretty compelling evidence from a facial recognition company — showing that some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters,” Gaetz said.
“They were masquerading as Trump supporters, and in fact were members of the violent terrorist group antifa.”
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), who objected to the Electoral College results showing President-elect Joe Biden won his state, also blamed antifa and suggested a “false flag” operation, according to The Washington Post.
“This has all the hallmarks of antifa provocation,” Gosar wrote on Twitter.
This has all the hallmarks of Antifa provocation. https://t.co/HJLN3Ijn4K
— Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) January 6, 2021
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) said in an interview on Fox News that “a lot of this is antifa folks.”
“Keep in mind, we don’t know who all were the instigators in this, of these horrible things that happened today,” Palin said. “A lot of this was the antifa folks, I’ve been sent pictures of the same characters whom were captured on images today storming the Capitol as had been at protests on the other side of politics earlier in the summer.”
Murdoch’s Fox News now airing claims that rioters were “antifa folks” in disguise. These events haven’t emerged from a vacuum, but from decades of far-right media sowing disinformation and conspiratorial thinking among the American public. Trump and Murdoch share responsibility. pic.twitter.com/GprGX0eTQ5
— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) January 7, 2021
Fox News host Pete Hegseth defended the insurrection, saying it exposed the “anti-American left.”
“The movement is obviously defined by far more than one day. If anything, one person I talked to in the crowd gave voice to how these people feel. They say ‘I’m a born-again American,’” he said. “They see exactly what the anti-American left has done for our country.”
Hegseth: “These are people that understand first principles. They love freedom and they love free markets.”
Yep this was definitely about a deep and abiding love of “free markets.” https://t.co/Q6vUECkrQ5
— Adam Goldberg (@ajgoldberg) January 7, 2021
Laura Ingraham spent much of her show suggesting that some of the rioters were associated with antifa, yet only provided pictures of some wearing helmets and knee pads that she said hadn’t been seen at prior Trump rallies, NBC News reported.
Four people died amid the insurrection, including one woman who was shot. The FBI said it’s looking for information on anyone who was involved.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.