Jun 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump tweets conspiracy theory that injured Buffalo protester was "antifa provocateur"

President Trump speaking at the White House
Photo: Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday that the 75-year-old protester who was shoved to the ground by Buffalo, N.Y., police last week "could be an ANTIFA provocateur" and "fell harder than he was pushed."

Why it matters: The conspiracy theory, which originated on the far-right blog Conservative Treehouse, made its way to the president via a report on One America News Network, a small Fox News rival with a history of conspiracy-focused reporting. It highlights just how far the president's media consumption can veer from the mainstream.

  • The blog post claims — all without evidence — that the protester, Martin Gugino, used "a phone as a capture scanner" as "a method of police tracking used by Antifa to monitor the location of police."
  • The OANN reporter, Kristian Rouz, is a Russian national who also writes for Kremlin-owned Sputnik, per The Daily Beast.

The big picture: Gugino remains in the hospital in serious but stable condition, per WGRZ.

  • The officers who pushed him were charged with second-degree assault and released on bail over the weekend.
  • Dozens of Buffalo police officers on the department's Emergency Response Team reportedly resigned from the unit in a show of support with their colleagues.
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