U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday indicated for the second time that he believes it is possible that the current wave of anti-Semitic incidents could be “false flags” – perpetrated by the left or by Jews themselves in order to make his administration and supporters look bad.
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Trump spoke to a gathering of state attorneys general from across the country that included Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Shapiro told reporters in a conference call after the meeting that Trump suggested that the attacks could reflect something other than anti-Semitism, saying that “the reverse can be true” and “someone’s doing it to make others look bad,” according to Philly.com.
The suggestion that the wave of attacks are false flags meant to perpetuate the impression that they were being committed by Trump supporters has been a theme on right-wing conspiracy theory websites and is being promoted aggressively by white supremacist David Duke on his Twitter account. Trump supporter and informal adviser Anthony Scaramucci tweeted a similar suggestion on Tuesday.
At a press conference on February 16, Trump suggested a false flag conspiracy was being perpetrated by his “opponents” in order to bolster claims that his election and presidency was fueling racism and anti-Semitism. “You have some of the signs and some of that anger caused by the other side,” charged Trump. “They’ll do signs and drawing that are inappropriate. It won’t be my people. It will be people on the other side to anger people like you,” he said.
Shapiro told reporters in a teleconference call, that Trump promised to explain more in his address to Congress Tuesday night. "Hopefully he'll clarify a bit more about what he means about the reverse possibly being true," said Shapiro, who said that he and his colleagues found the president’s remarks “curious.”
According to another Philadelphia-based news website, a reporter asked Shapiro during the call whether Trump was indicating that he believed his camp was being falsely accused of perpetrating the crimes. The attorney general reportedly answered that he wasn’t exactly sure what Trump meant by his answer but “he used the word ‘reverse’ I would say two to three times in his comments” and “I don’t know why he said that.”
In response to the reports, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League told Buzzfeed: "We are astonished by what the President reportedly said. It is incumbent upon the White House to immediately clarify these remarks."