Rep. Gaetz, Sean Hannity and More Baselessly Suggest ‘Antifa’ Instigated Capitol Mob

Candace Owens, Ann Coulter, Kevin Sorbo, Rep. Mo Brooks and many others on the far-right pushed the conspiracy theory as well

Last Updated: January 7, 2021 @ 12:40 PM

A new conspiracy theory flowed from many in right-wing media and other conservatives after a large group of far-right, extremist Trump supporters stormed and occupied the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday: According to the completely unsubstantiated claims, antifa did it.

The conservative mob broke past police barriers and shattered windows to enter the Capitol to protest the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, but they quickly turned violent once the joint session of Congress began, attacking Capitol Police, assaulting the Capitol building itself and occupying it for hours as members of Congress went into lockdown.

But many notable conservatives immediately attempted to shift the blame away from the far-right mob, which was incited by months of violent rhetoric from Donald Trump as he attempted to overturn Biden’s victory with bogus claims of voter fraud. These conservatives, which included washed-up actor Kevin Sorbo, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, and Sean Hannity, Brit Hume and Mark Levin of Fox News, wanted to shift the blame to leftists and liberals — without any evidence whatsoever.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, joined the fray during his comments when the Electoral College certification proceedings resumed late Wednesday night.

“Some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters. They were masquerading as Trump supporters, and in fact were members of the violent terrorist group antifa,” Gaetz said, also “Antifa” is not actually an organization, but rather an ideology.

Gaetz’s claim is without merit, as the facial recognition company he cites as evidence says the whole thing is a big lie.

Gaetz wasn’t the only member of the House of Representatives to get in on this, as Mo Brooks of Alabama also tweeted about it.

Hannity, meanwhile, floated the conspiracy multiple times on Wednesday, first on his radio show and again later on his Fox News show.

“Then we had the reports that groups like antifa, other radical groups — I don’t know the names of all of them — that they were there to cause trouble,” Hannity said on the radio, without citing any evidence whatsoever.

On TV, Hannity suggested the blame for the riot could belong to the more vague concept of “bad actors.” “We also knew that there’s also bad actors that will infiltrate large crowds,” he said during his opening segment. He dropped a couple more references to this idea later in the show.

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin also spread the “antifa” conspiracy theory on Fox News earlier in the day. “We don’t know who all were the instigators in this, these horrible thing that happen today. I think a lot of it is the antifa folks,” Palin said.

Newsmax reporter Emerald Robinson also spread this “antifa” bit on the air on her network.

“I am hearing from some people on the ground that there is a question of if antifa has infiltrated the Trump rally goers and are fomenting some kind of unrest,” Robinson said. And anchor Tom Basile chimed in with his agreement.

“That has happened before. I think that’s very important to, very important to note,” Basile said, though it wasn’t clear what he was referencing.

Lindell also did this same bit during a NewsMax interview. “There were probably some undercover antifa that dressed as Trump people,” he said.

For the most part, these baseless “antifa” theories came on Twitter, where we’ll find Sorbo, Hume, Candace Owens, Ann Coulter, Breitbart editor John Nolte and more. You can read a sampling of these below.

Expect more of this in the days to come.