In the aftermath of the attempted coup by Trump supporters at the Capitol on Wednesday that left one person dead, conspiracy theorists and right-wing figures have tried to shift the blame to their favorite target: antifa.
There is no evidence of antifa's involvement in the breach of the Capitol and ensuing trashing of the Senate chamber and other parts of the building, and Trump supporters have been openly planning today’s action for weeks. On Friday, the Department of Justice said it had no indication of antifa involvement in events at the Capitol.
But that hasn’t stopped baseless claims and speculation from spreading on social media.
Lin Wood, a pro-Trump attorney who subscribes to the QAnon mass delusion, sent several viral tweets that falsely claimed that members of antifa were inside the Capitol.
One tweet included a photo of men he claimed were members of antifa; in fact, the men in the photo from the Capitol are frequent MAGA world protester “Q Shaman” and white nationalist Jason Tankersley.
Juanita Broaddrick, a pro-Trump figure who has accused former president Bill Clinton of sexual assault, also tweeted a photo that included Q Shaman standing with a different group of men. She accused one of them of having an antifa tattoo. In fact, the man's tattoo shows the "Outsider's Mark" from the video game Dishonored. The false claim regarding the same photo was spread by former NYPD commissioner Bernard Kerik.
Paul Sperry, a conservative writer who has in the past been the source of misleading claims, tweeted that a bus full of “Antifa thugs” had infiltrated pro-Trump protesters. He cited an unnamed “former FBI agent” and no other evidence.
Law enforcement officials have not said anything about outside instigators, be they members of antifa or another organization.
Hoaxes about busloads of antifa protesters have unfortunately become commonplace. Sperry’s baseless tweet was later amplified by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
There was also a rash of false claims about police escorting antifa members to the protests, according to Reuters. A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, DC, told the news agency that it “does not act in the capacity of private security for any group.”
Unfounded speculation about the involvement of antifa accelerated as a 6 p.m. curfew went into effect in DC and the pro-Trump mob was removed from the Capitol. Pro-Trump commentator David Harris Jr., actor Kevin Sorbo, and conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec have spread rumors about antifa's involvement in Wednesday's storming of the Capitol. None of them produced evidence to back up their claims.
Correction: Jason Tankersley is the white nationalist shown in the image tweeted by attorney Lin Wood. The person in the photo was misidentified in a previous version of this story.
The story also incorrectly said Blaze TV host Glenn Beck had suggested antifa was involved in the Capitol mob.