A Republican congressman from Arizona suggested that a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August was organized by an “Obama sympathizer” and backed by financier George Soros in an interview that aired Thursday evening.
Rep. Paul Gosar told Vice News that the Antifa group — short for anti-fascist — was responsible for the outbreak of violence in Charlottesville.
“Because let’s look at the person that actually started the rally,” Gosar said. “It’s come to our attention that this is a person from Occupy Wall Street that was an Obama sympathizer.”
Jason Kessler, the leader of “Unite the Right,” the group that organized the rally, admitted he did vote for President Barack Obama and had attended an Occupy Wall Street rally, though his views have since become more extremist and racist. The Southern Poverty Law Center outlined Kessler’s rightward shift, which began in 2013 after he was angered when a PR executive was publicly excoriated and fired over a racist tweet.
The rally in Charlottesville, which left a 32-year old woman dead and multiple injured, broke out after white nationalists held a torchlight vigil to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park in the town, and were met by a large group of counterprotestors.
Gosar further suggested that George Soros, a billionaire Democratic donor, had provided financial backing to the Charlottesville rally organizers as some sort of subversive attempt to discredit the white nationalist groups. This theory has been widely debunked.
“You know, you know George Soros is one of those people that actually helps back these individuals. Who is he? I think he’s from Hungary. I think he was Jewish. And I think he turned in his own people to the Nazis,” Gosar said.
“Better be careful where we go with those,” he added.
Soros, who is Jewish and was only 13 years old when Nazi Germany occupied Hungary, has frequently been cast as a scapegoat by conspiracy-minded public figures on the right, including Alex Jones of Infowars.