Trump Retweets Alt-Right Troll Behind ‘Pizzagate’ Following Charlottesville Rally
Still dealing with backlash over his initial response to the deadly white supremacist rally in Virginia over the weekend, President Donald Trump on Monday retweeted an alt-right activist who pushed bogus stories about “Pizzagate” and false theories that connected the Democratic National Committee to the death of one of its staffers.
Trump retweeted to his nearly 36 million followers a post by Jack Posobiec on Monday night that linked to a news article about violence in Chicago.
“Meanwhile: 39 shootings in Chicago this weekend, 9 deaths. No national media outrage. Why is that?” Posobiec tweeted.
The tweet was one of several from the president on Monday that appeared to highlight his frustration over the media’s coverage of him.
Posobiec, a staunch Trump supporter, livestreamed his reaction to the retweet news on Twitter and later thanked the president in a separate Twitter post.
Posobiec is a well-known alt-right voice who has pushed the false “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which accused Hillary Clinton loyalists of running a child sex-trafficking operation out of a Washington, D.C. pizza shop.
Just days after Trump was elected president, Posobiec livestreamed a visit to the pizza shop at the center of the theory to investigate, but was removed by police for videotaping a child’s birthday party there.
A man fired multiple shots into that same pizza shop about a month later, claiming he had driven from North Carolina to “investigate” the false claims of an alleged child sex ring at the shop. Edgar Maddison Welch was sentenced in June to four years in prison after pleading guilty to firearm and assault offenses in March.
Posobiec has also pushed false claims that the Democratic National Committee was responsible for the death of former staffer Seth Rich. A story published by Fox News in May that fueled the rumors surrounding Rich’s death was later retracted and has now become the subject of a lawsuit.
The retweet from Trump came just hours after the president made a second statement about the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday after he was criticized over the vagueness of his initial response.
Trump on Saturday said both sides were to blame for the violence that occurred at the rally, which left one dead and 19 injured after a car-ramming attack. Police arrested James Alex Fields, 20, and charged him with second-degree murder in the incident.
Trump later denounced neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan as “criminals and thugs” on Monday amid growing pressure from political leaders on both the right and left.