For the second time in as many days, President Trump claimed without evidence that a plane filled with left-wing agitators either was or had been traveling somewhere within the U.S.
“A person was on a plane, said that there were about six people like that person, more or less, and what happened is the entire plane filled up with the looters, the rioters, the anarchists, people that were obviously looking for trouble and the person felt very uncomfortable on the plane,” Trump said Tuesday at Joint Base Andrews before departing to visit Kenosha, Wis.
Trump’s recent talk of planes filled with “the looters, the rioters” is confusing even some of the president’s allies and those who ignore his sometimes bizarre tangents. Trump has spent the last several weeks attempting to link his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, to the unrest in a number of American cities this month, but he now appears to have taken that line of argument in a more conspiratorial direction.
The president has yet to reveal the identity of the person who allegedly saw the left-wing activists on the plane. “I will see whether or not I can get that person to speak to you, but this was a firsthand account of a plane going from Washington to wherever, and I’ll see if I can get that information for you, maybe they’ll speak to you, maybe they won’t,” he said Tuesday.
Trump initially brought up this plane in an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that aired Monday evening. The president linked the plane to how “people that you’ve never heard of, people that are in the dark shadows” were controlling Biden.
“What does that mean?” asked Ingraham, a staunch supporter of the president who seemed flummoxed by what he was saying. “That sounds like conspiracy theory, dark shadows. What is that?”
“No. People that you haven’t heard of. They are people that are on the streets, they’re people that are controlling the streets. We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend,” Trump said. “And in the plane, it was almost completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear and this and that. They’re on a plane.”
“Where is this?” asked Ingraham.
“I’ll tell you sometime, but it’s under investigation right now,” said Trump. “But they came from a certain city, and this person was coming to the Republican National Convention. And there were, like, seven people on the plane like this person, and then a lot of people were on the plane to do big damage.”
NBC News reported earlier Tuesday that Trump’s claim is very similar to a viral Facebook post from June 1 that falsely claimed “at least a dozen males got off the plane in Boise from Seattle, dressed head to toe in black.” The post, by an Idaho resident, warned residents, “Be ready for attacks downtown and residential areas,” and claimed one passenger had “a tattoo that said Antifa America on his arm.”
Trump and his administration have continued to push fear of left-wing mobs while ignoring right-wing violence. After saying believers in the violent QAnon conspiracy theory “are people that love our country” last month, on Monday Trump said Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old accused of killing two people in Wisconsin last week, may have acted in self-defense.
“That was an interesting situation. You saw the same tape as I saw, and he was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like,” Trump said. “He fell, and then they very violently attacked him, and it was something that we’re looking at right now, and it’s under investigation. But I guess he was in very big trouble. ... He probably would have been killed.”
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