In early June, many small/medium-sized cities, depending upon social media postings, worried that antifa was about to arrive in their city spreading violence and destruction. Antifa’s supposed arrival often coincided with scheduled protest events. In Wheeling, for instance, the possible confrontation with a protest rally brought about the rally’s cancellation after city leaders met with the protest organizers. In other towns, militia-types organized to meet the threat. Major news sources, including the Associated Press, called the threats a hoax but many smaller media sources never questioned city leaders about the source of the rumor. (As I discovered, even a minimal amount of research pointed to the likelihood that the threat was fraudulent.) Locally, our Ogden “newspapers” and WTRF took it seriously while WTOV correctly pointed out that it was a hoax playing out in numerous towns across the country. (I wrote about the local reactions here.)
One of the more common June rumors was that antifa was “sending ‘a plane load of their people’ to a city to incite riots. (Here is one in Idaho.) If you watched President Trump last night being interviewed on Fox, Trump is now spreading a very similar rumor. From NBC News:
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.
In an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, Trump claimed that “we had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that.”
He then claimed the matter was “under investigation right now.”
There is no evidence of any such flight. When Ingraham asked for more information about the flight, the president said, "I'll tell you sometime." He then alleged the people had been headed to Washington to disrupt the RNC.
Today, Trump elaborated on the theory:
There's the President and First Lady:
and Senator Rand Paul: