October 28, 2018

Right-Wing Media Desperate to Distance Trump from Sayoc


Screenshot / YouTube.com, CBS News


They are trying to reconcile their conspiracy theories in the wake of the arrest and to find a way to absolve Trump and conservative media of any hint of responsibility.


By Jared Holt / 10.26.2018


The Department of Justice announced this morning that federal agents arrested a man they suspect mailed explosive devices to prominent Democrats. The suspect appears to be a hard-line Trump supporter, news that sent right-wing media into a spin.

In the last week, former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and prominent Democrats—including billionaire philanthropist George Soros and actor Robert De Niro—received packages containing explosive devices, as did CNN, a news outlet that is a frequent target of President Trump’s ire. Some reporters noted the intended recipients of the explosive devices are also favorite targets of Trump’s rhetorical attacks.

Authorities identified the suspect as Cesar Sayoc, a 56-year-old Florida man. A review of his social media accounts revealed him to be an ardent Trump supporter who repeatedly threatened Democrats on Twitter. Sayoc’s van, now in the possession of law enforcement, is plastered with pro-Trump stickers and images of Democrats in crosshairs. CBS News reports:

Police activity centered earlier on an AutoZone in a residential area, where law enforcement officers were seen on television examining a white van in the business’ parking lot, its windows covered with an assortment of political stickers, in the city of Plantation, west of Fort Lauderdale.

The stickers included images of Trump, American flags and what appeared to be logos of the Republican National Committee and CNN, though the writing surrounding those images was unclear.

Officials covered the vehicle with a blue tarp and transported it from the lot, trailed by several police cars, CBS News’ David Begnaud reported.

In online right-wing circles, where it was largely insisted all week that the mailed explosive devices were part of an elaborate hoax orchestrated by Democrats to aide them in the upcoming midterm elections, participants appeared to struggle to reconcile their conspiracy theories in the wake of the arrest and to find a way to absolve Trump and conservative media of any hint of responsibility.

Far-right commentator Paul Ramsey said of Sayoc (who describes himself as Seminole on Twitter, a claim the tribe rejects), “he looks like someone from the caravan.”


Originally published by Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way, a program of Open Society Foundations, under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license.

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