On Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump condemned neo-Nazis in a long anticipated speech, two full days after Saturday’s Charlottesville terror attack killed one anti-racist protester and injured 20 others.
Then, late on Monday night, Trump retweeted Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, who spent part of Saturday amplifying an entirely inaccurate conspiracy theory that the attack was actually perpetrated by an “anti-Trump, open-borders drug addict.” That innocent man was then identified by name and quickly harassed and threatened on Facebook.
That man, who The Daily Beast is not naming, was in Michigan at the time and had no connection to the terror attack in Virginia.
“BREAKING: #Charlottesville Terrorist Is Anti-Trump, Open Borders Drug Addict,” Posobiec wrote at 4:11 p.m., linking out to a full report by GotNews, a website owned by far-right provocateur Chuck Johnson.
The tweet has since been deleted, and the article was removed without a correction.
The same conspiracy theory, based on anonymous posts on 4chan and Twitter, was floated by The Daily Caller’s Ian Miles Cheong and Gateway Pundit, and was alluded to by Federalist publisher Ben Domenech on Saturday.
Readers of the stories flocked to the Michigan man’s Facebook page and peppered his wall with threats and abuse before he set his page to private later on Saturday. A post by the wrongly identified man’s sister later explained he was at a wedding during the attack.
With throngs of protesters rallying outside Trump’s Manhattan skyscraper, the president was inside Trump Tower for the first time since his presidency began when he retweeted Posobiec.
“Meanwhile: 39 shootings in Chicago this weekend, 9 deaths. No national media outrage. Why is that?” the tweet reads.
It was the last of a series of aggrieved tweets by the president Monday, in which he railed against the press for negative coverage of his two-day delay in explicitly condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists after Saturday’s terror attack.
“Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the #Fake News Media will never be satisfied... truly bad people!” Trump tweeted.
Posobiec has a long history of pushing pro-Trump conspiracy theories, most notably the Pizzagate conspiracy theory that baselessly alleges Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman John Podesta ran a child-sex ring out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza shop that has no basement.
One week after Trump was elected president, Posobiec livestreamed a visit to the pizza shop to investigate but was swiftly removed by D.C. Metropolitan police for videotaping a child’s birthday party in a back room. The stunt led the hashtag “#pizzagate” to trend on Twitter.
Less than a month later, Edgar M. Welch fired four shots into that same pizza shop, claiming he was there to “investigate” the alleged child-sex ring that didn’t exist.
Posobiec garnered national headlines for interrupting a protest of Shakespeare in the Park in June because he believed the 418-year-old play was a call to violence against Trump.
Despite falsely accusing a man of a terror attack, Posobiec was back alleging CNN of being “fake news” on Sunday.
“Its (sic) hard to overstate how biased and fake CNN is with intellectual handpuppets like you masquerading as journalists,” Posobiec wrote.
The next day, Trump responded to CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta by calling him “fake news,” then refused to answer a question about the terror attack.