Bombs are sent through the mail to CNN, George Soros, James Clapper, former President Barack Obama, and other persons targeted by President Donald Trump for vilification and abuse. A theory begins to circulate on the far edges of the right that the bombs are a “false flag” intended to discredit the president and his party. The theory rapidly moves from the edge to the center.
There the theory lingers, even as police apprehend a suspect and tow away a van festooned with pro-Trump stickers.
On the afternoon of October 24, the false-flag theory was all but endorsed by Rush Limbaugh:
And so, in the midst of this atmosphere, we have this series of bombs that were supposedly sent today, exclusively to Democrats. And it just—there’s a smell test that this stuff has to pass, and so far a lot of people’s noses are in the air, not quite certain of what to make of this. This is just—it’s not Republicans that show up, for example, at the offices of the Family—what is it, some pro-life group’s offices, some guy shows up with a gun and was going to shoot people, got caught before he was able to shoot anyone. Family Research Center, I think, yeah.
Republicans just don’t do this kind of thing. Even though every event, like mass shootings, remember, every mass shooting there is, the Democrats in the media try to make everybody think right off the bat that some Tea Partier did it, or some talk-radio fan did it, or some Fox News viewer did it. Turns out, it’s never, ever the case. Not one of these bombs went off. And if a Democrat operative’s purpose here is to make it look like, hey, you know, there are mobs everywhere, the mobs are not just Democrat mobs. I mean, look at this, you’ve got people here trying to harm CNN, and Obama, and Hillary and Bill Clinton, and Debbie “Blabbermouth” Schultz. It just—it might serve a purpose here.
On the afternoon of October 25, the false-flag theory gained a respectful hearing from The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway, a Fox News contributor and one of the president’s most outspoken defenders on TV and social media, who in a tweet compared the current incident to the anthrax attacks in the fall of 2001:
People should stop acting like it’s insane to even consider possibility of hidden motivations in latest terrorism-by-mail scheme since last such scheme targeting political/media establishment did just that (pretending to be Al Qaeda when they were not)
That same afternoon, a tweet from an anonymous account that alleged “FAKE BOMBS MADE TO SCARE AND PICK UP BLUE SYMPATHY VOTE” gained a “like” from Donald Trump Jr.