President Donald Trump is getting slammed for spreading a debunked conspiracy theory on Monday, but far right wing evangelical Franklin Graham spread a very similar story on Facebook on Friday, one day after the Republican National Convention.
“We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend,” Trump said Monday night. “And in the plane it was almost completely loaded with, with thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that.”
Trump added, “it’s under investigation right now, but they came from a certain city, and this person was coming to the Republican National Convention. And they were like seven people on the plane like this person, and then a lot of people were on the plane to do big damage,” Trump claimed, suggesting the RNC was targeted.
Tuesday Trump repeated the claim, expanding it to say, “a person was on a plane, said that there were about six people like that person, more or less. And what happened is the entire plane filled up with the looters, the anarchists, the rioters — people that obviously were looking for trouble.”
On Friday via a Facebook post, Franklin Graham, who serves as an informal advisor to President Trump, wrote: “A person who was coming to Washington on a plane this week said that there were some of these anarchists on the plane with them traveling to DC.”
NBC News Tuesday reported that the “conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump pushed Monday that a plane ‘almost completely loaded with thugs’ had been set to disrupt the Republican National Convention was almost identical to a rumor that went viral on Facebook three months ago.”
The claim about the flight matches a viral Facebook post from June 1 that falsely claimed, “At least a dozen males got off the plane in Boise from Seattle, dressed head to toe in black.” The post, by an Emmett, Idaho, man, warned residents to “Be ready for attacks downtown and residential areas,” and claimed one passenger had “a tattoo that said Antifa America on his arm.”
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