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No evidence that antifa stormed the Capitol, despite GOP disinformation

6 min read

Desperate disinformation failed miserably as so many Trumpists were obsessed with selfie declarations of their assault on the Capitol yesterday.  Because they wanted trophies and attention-seeking recognition, many familiar “alt-right” white supremacists revealed themselves, as well as some public officials and even at least one police chief.


In thousands of posts on Twitter and Facebook, members of the far right pushed the unfounded claim that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, carrying Trump flags and halting Congress’s counting of electoral votes, was made up of liberal activists posing as a pro-Trump community to give it a bad name.

The rumor that supporters of the antifa movement — a loosely organized collective of antifascist activists — had posed as members of the far right on Wednesday was shared more than 150,000 times on Twitter and thousands of times more on Facebook, according to an analysis by The New York Times. Altogether, the accounts pushing the rumor had tens of millions of followers.

Several posts shared by thousands of people held up photographs as evidence that antifa supporters were behind the unrest. But those images did not, in fact, show antifa involvement. Instead, some of the photographs, and the information contained in them, suggested ties to far right movements.

Even President Trump acknowledged that the people who supported him — not liberal activists — had invaded the Capitol. At one point on Wednesday he told the mob that “we love you.”

Among the most popular figures pushing the conspiracy theory were the commentator Candace Owens, the Georgia lawyer L. Lin Wood and Juanita Broaddrick, a nursing home administrator who in 1999 publicly accused President Bill Clinton of raping her in 1978. Other prominent figures spreading the rumor included Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas; Sarah Palin, the former vice-presidential candidate; and Representative Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican.…



— Eric Rosenwald (@rosenwald_eric) January 8, 2021


— Dr. HawaiiDelilah™ (@HawaiiDelilah) January 8, 2021

And then there appeared to be more limitations that actually constrained a national guard response, along with some problems with mutual aid (darn that police anarchism).


— Greg Miller (@gregpmiller) January 8, 2021

The defense official said the military wanted to be the force of last resort, and that military officials had urged (DC Mayor) Bowser to request more support from federal law enforcement but that she didn’t do so until Wednesday.
Higher-up leaders at the Pentagon then evaluated the request and activated the full D.C. Guard, in addition to later calling the governors of other states to send their Guard forces as reinforcements. The officials also lifted limits on the Guard for the new mission, arming guardsmen with riot gear, but not guns, before they headed to create a perimeter around the Capitol.
In the roughly three hours it took the Pentagon to make the shift from traffic policing to full-fledged riot response, the Capitol Police found themselves overwhelmed and rioters stormed the building, forcing lawmakers to take cover and barricade themselves in their offices. The Pentagon left it to federal law enforcement to clear the Capitol of the rioters, amid the hesitancy about sending Guard units into the building itself. By the evening, Guard units helped the Capitol Police and federal and city law enforcement reestablish a perimeter around the building.


— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) January 8, 2021

“you know this wasn't an Antifa action because there would've been barricades, a soup kitchen, and first aid tent set up by now.”


— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 7, 2021

One sure sign that the violence that wracked the Capitol on Wednesday was broadly unacceptable to President Trump’s usual allies was how quickly some pivoted to blame people other than the president and his base of supporters.

From the House floor, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a Trump ally, cited “pretty compelling evidence from a facial recognition company” that he claimed showed “some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters.” Instead, they were “masquerading as Trump supporters and, in fact, were members of the violent terrorist group antifa.”
Antifa is a frequent target of Trump’s. The loose-knit ideology isn’t generally manifested in any sort of formal organization but that very nebulousness has allowed Trump and others to use it as a blanket descriptor for any person or group that can be cast as left-wing and dangerous. Hence Gaetz’s elevation of the claim: If someone somewhere is doing something that is a problem for the country, Trump or someone linked to him will probably finagle an antifa allegation into the mix.…



— NPR (@NPR) January 8, 2021


— WIRED Science (@WIREDScience) January 8, 2021


— Mike P Williams (@Mike_P_Williams) January 7, 2021

39% of Americans, 31% of independents, and 17% of Democrats “believe the election was rigged.” — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

Mostly False. Cruz’s claim is based on a specific poll and the total percentage of survey respondents who “somewhat” or “strongly” agreed with the statement: “I am concerned that the election is rigged.” That doesn’t necessarily mean they thought it was rigged.

Another question in the Reuters/Ipsos survey asked people more directly about their view of the election. The percentage of people who said the election was “the result of illegal voting or election rigging” was much lower than the numbers Cruz cited.…



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