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President Trump. Photo: Tasos Katopodis-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump said in a tweet on Friday that the women confronting senators in the halls of the Senate about their support of Brett Kavanaugh are "paid professionals" with "identical signs...[p]aid for by Soros and others."

Why it matters: The far-right frequently ties George Soros to moments of political discourse as a way to explain unrest, and doesn't shy away from labeling protestors "crisis actors." The fact is that in the last few years, widespread protests have become more frequent over heated political moments, and Friday's vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation is no exception.

"The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers"
— President Trump

The "elevator screamers:" Last week, before the Senate Judiciary Committee's vote, Sen. Jeff Flake was cornered by a sexual assault survivor, and Sen. Orrin Hatch was confronted on Thursday.

Between the lines: Billionaire George Soros, as Axios' Shane Savitsky reported last year, is "often seen as a bogeyman by conservative pundits."

  • He's been tied to events like Charlottesville and NFL protests by far-right conspiracy theorists who say he's funding movements to cause civil unrest and work against Trump.
  • Why Soros? "He's a figure often seen as a bogeyman by conservative pundits, who have latched onto both his Hungarian roots and massive success in the financial sector — such as betting against the British pound in the 1990s — to create shadowy associations with his extensive support of progressive causes and social justice. And his Jewish faith, which Gosar made the point of mentioning during his Vice interview, is frequently used as a dog whistle by the far right."
  • The trend: "Spikes in media attention for Soros tend to crop up in two scenarios — a genuine political splash by Soros or a right-wing conspiracy theory brought about by a controversial and divisive event in the United States."

Go deeper

28 mins ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.

By the numbers: Catholics, Biden and abortion

Expand chart
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Biden — the second Catholic U.S. president — will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday, as some church leaders debate whether to deny Holy Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.

By the numbers: Overall, two in three U.S. Catholics believe Biden should be allowed to take Communion despite his stance on abortion, according to polling by Pew Research Center.

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause, chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.

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