Tim Donnelly, a Republican running for Congress in California, has repeatedly targeted Parkland shooting survivors and activist David Hogg, comparing students, protesters, and campaigners to Hitler, The Hill reports.
"I wonder if the #MarchForOurLives tools know how Hitlerian they look and sound," Donelly tweeted on March 24.
Apart from comparing Parkland teens to Hitler, Donnelly has, in particular, targeted David Hogg in his social media posts, promoting conspiracy theories about the student, including claiming Hogg wasn't even present when the shooting happened.
According to Donnelly, Hogg was not even inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the February 14 shooting when 14 students and three teachers were killed.
In March, Donnelly posted on his Facebook page that Hogg, who Donnelly claims has a "Hitlerian fetish to disarm America," admitted to not being in the school during the shooting.
According to The Hill, this conspiracy theory was disproven by video footage Hogg released, having recorded himself in the classroom during the shooting. Furthermore, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School teacher also vouched for Hogg's whereabouts.
In a video uploaded to his Facebook page, the Republican running for California's 8th Congressional District can be heard saying the following.
"We see this kid, David Hogg, who's been lying about the fact he wasn't even at the school. And yet, he's called a Parkland survivor. I'm sorry. I don't get that. If you weren't there you're not a survivor."David Hogg has become an activist and a gun control advocate. According to the Washington Post, David is one of 20 founding members of Never Again MSD, a gun control advocacy group which hopes to make significant changes to the nation's gun laws.
Hogg has also been a target of several conspiracy theories. As USA Today noted, David Hogg was accused of being a "crisis actor," instructed by his father who once worked for the FBI, to promote gun control laws.
Arguably the most prominent conspiracy theorist in the United States, Alex Jones, pushed a conspiracy theory alleging that the FBI had instructed the "crisis actor" David Hogg to memorize lines to use in interviews with the media.
Tim Donnelly is not the first GOP-affiliated individual to promote conspiracy theories aimed at Parkland shooting survivors. As The Guardian reported, Benjamin Kelly, an aide to Republican state representative Shawn Harrison, emailed a Tampa Bay Times reporter, alleging two Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students were crisis actors. Kelly was subsequently fired.
Tim Donnelly previously ran for California governor, finishing third. He also ran for a congressional seat in 2016 but came in third during the primary. He is currently running against another Republican, Paul Cook, for California's 8th Congressional District.