The day after Donald Trump defied local leaders and grieving families in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and traveled to the city three days after an anti-Semitic gunman massacred 11 Jewish worshippers in a synagogue there, as CNN reported, Trump appeared to endorse the conspiracy theory believed to have motivated 46-year-old Robert Bowers to commit the mass murder while shouting, “All Jews must die!”
In the final weeks and days before the 2018 midterm elections, Trump has attempted to raise fears about a so-called “caravan” of Central American people fleeing political and gang violence in Honduras and other areas, as Politico has reported. Trump has repeatedly referred to the caravan as an “invasion” of the United States — the same term used in social media posts about the caravan by the accused Pittsburgh mass killer.
From Bowers’ social media activity, the alleged gunman appeared obsessed with the bogus conspiracy theory popular among the far right that “Jews” are the organizers and financiers of the migrant caravan, according to Vox, which noted that billionaire philanthropist George Soros, a frequent supporter of Democratic candidates and liberal causes, is often cited in the conspiracy theory as a stand-in for the more general “Jews.” Soros, 88, is a Jewish immigrant from Hungary who fled his home country in 1947 when Hungary was occupied by military forces of the Soviet Union.
But in his remarks to reporters outside the White House on Wednesday, Trump said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Soros was secretly funding the Central American migrants’ journey, according to The Hill and as seen in the video below.
REPORTER: Do think somebody is funding the caravan?
TRUMP: "I wouldn't be surprised, yeah. I wouldn't be surprised."
R: George Soros?
T: "I don't know who, but I wouldn't be surprised. A lot of people say yes." pic.twitter.com/U1w9EYHcw6
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 31, 2018
Trump is far from alone in pushing the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Soros is somehow funding the migrant caravan from Central America, even after the same false claim was revealed to be behind the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. As the Inquisitr reported, Fox News aired a segment just hours after the mass shooting in which a guest also claimed that Soros was behind the caravan. The network later apologized for airing the segment.
As the Washington Post reported, the claims about Soros were once confined to internet memes and social media posts, but have recently been adopted by mainstream Republican politicians, including Trump himself.
“The Soros-caravan conspiracy theory weaves together anti-Semitism, fear of immigrants and the specter of powerful foreign agents controlling major world events in pursuit of a hidden agenda,” wrote Post correspondent Joel Achenbach. “And it appears to have had real-world consequences on Saturday for Jews attending services, including a baby-naming ceremony, in their synagogue in Pittsburgh.”