Hours after denouncing far-right extremists on Monday, President Donald Trump retweeted a far-right “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist known for disrupting a performance of “Julius Caesar” over the summer.
For days, Trump was criticized for not specifically calling out white supremacists for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. Instead, he blamed “many sides” for the incidents that killed a 32-year-woman and injured 35 others.
On Monday, Trump finally issued a stronger statement, one that denounced “the KKK, Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups.” However, he did not tweet a reproach of these extremists ― an odd move for a president who tweets every thought that comes into his head.
Critics saw the retweet on Monday evening as an attempt to deflect attention from his belated response to white supremacist violence, but also as an implicit effort to draw attention to crime within the African-American community:
Many of the critics described Posobiec as “alt-right.” He denies the label, calling himself part of the “New Right” and saying he has “denounced hate groups and bigotry.”
The Anti-Defamation League considers Posobiec to be part of the “Alt Lite,” which it calls a “loosely-connected movement whose adherents generally shun white supremacist thinking, but who are in step with the alt-right in their hatred of feminists and immigrants, among others.”
The group said of Posobiec:
“He has enthusiastically promoted a range of lies, including the Pizzagate hoax and attempted to discredit anti-Trump activists by planting an inflammatory ‘Rape Melania’ sign at a protest event. He frequently tweets anti-Muslim sentiments, and has harassed former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin with anti-Muslim slurs online and in person.”
Posobiec, for his part, thanked the president for the retweet.