President Donald Trump blasted out a conspiracy theory Tuesday claiming the 75-year-old man seen on video getting shoved to the ground by Buffalo police during a protest fell ‘harder than he was pushed’ and had connections to Antifa.
The tweet referenced a report on the right wing One America News Network with close-up, slowed footage of the incident while voice-over from a correspondent touts possible connections to Antifa, a group Trump has said wants to label as domestic terrorist organization.
The report claims that the incident – where 75-year-old protester Martin Gugino was shoved to the ground by police – ‘could be the result of a false flag provocation by far left group Antifa.’
It cites information that appeared on the Conservative Treehouse blog which identifies Gugino as a ‘well-known activist.’
Trump tweeted Tuesday morning: ‘Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN.’
The president added that he agreed with at least part of what was put forward by the broadcast on a network he regularly touts. ‘I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?’ Trump asked.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ripped the president Tuesday for issuing a ‘reckless, irresponsible, mean, crude if there was ever a reprehensible, dumb comment.’
‘And from the president of the United States at this moment of anguish and anger. He pours gasoline on the fire. If there was ever, if he ever feels a moment of decency, he should apologize fr that tweet,’ Cuomo added.
He called it ‘wholly unacceptable’ and said there was ‘Not a piece of proof. Personally disparaging when the man is still in the hospital. Show some decency, some humanity,’ he continued.
Trump’s tweet – again siding with police after repeatedly calling for ‘law and order’ amid protests over the death of George Floyd – comes despite advisors inside and outside the White House counseling him to address racial discrimination.
An elderly man was seen approaching Buffalo police officers in riot gear outside of City Hall on Thursday
President Trump tweeted that 75-year old Martin Gugino ‘fell harder than was pushed’
Martin Gugino, a longtime peace activist from Amherst, had been at a protest at Niagara Square near Buffalo City Hall when he was pushed. He hit his head on the ground causing it to bleed
The OANN correspondent identifies himself as Kristian Rouz, who has been revealed to simultaneously be working for Kremlin-backed Sputnik news. The Daily Beast previously reported that Rouz was born in Siberia, graduated from Novosibirsk State University, and moved to the U.S. in 2017.
Gugino remains hospitalized in Buffalo.
He texted USA Today after being asked about Trump’s tweet. ‘No comment other than Black lives matter. Just out of the ICU. Should recover eventually. Thx,’ he wrote.
His attorney blasted the ‘dangerous’ and ‘untrue’ accusations. against him.
Attorney Kelly Zarcone told CNN Tuesday: ‘No one from law enforcement has ever even suggested anything otherwise so we’re at a loss to understand why the president of the United States would make such a dark, dangerous and untrue accusation against him. Martin has always been a peaceful protester because he cares about today’s society.’
Earlier, Zarcone said Gugino was ‘in serious but stable condition. Martin has acknowledged and sincerely appreciates the tremendous outpouring of support he has received nationwide. Martin and his family continue to request privacy as they focus on Martin’s health and recovery,’ lawyer Kelly Zarcone said, WGRZ reported.
Two police officers who shoved him last week in an incident captured on dramatic video have pleaded not guilty to assault. Video of the incident shows Gugino bleeding on the pavement as a group of officers walk by.
Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe were charged with assault in the second degree Saturday morning.
Aaron Torgalski (left) and Robert McCabe (right) pictured in their mugs. They were each charged with one count of assault in the second degree in a court hearing Saturday morning over the shocking incident that left peaceful protester Martin Gugino in a ‘serious condition’ in hospital
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said Gugino was an ‘agitator’
In this image from video provided by WBFO, a Buffalo police officer appears to shove a man who walked up to police Thursday, June 4, 2020, in Buffalo, N.Y. Video from WBFO shows the man appearing to hit his head on the pavement, with blood leaking out as officers walk past to clear Niagara Square. Buffalo police initially said in a statement that a person ‘was injured when he tripped & fell,’ WIVB-TV reported, but Capt. Jeff Rinaldo later told the TV station that an internal affairs investigation was opened
Former White House press secretary for George W. Bush Ari Fliescher
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said Gugino was an ‘agitator’ who tried to work up the crowd and had been asked to leave the area ‘numerous’ times.
The OANN report zeroed in on footage of the man waving his phone while coming in close contact with members of a Buffalo police unit during the protest.
All 57 officers on the Buffalo Police Department’s Emergency Response Team resigned from the squad on Friday in support of their colleagues who were suspended over the incident.
The report Trump tweeted says video ‘appear to show Gugino using a police tracker on his phone trying to scan police communications during the protest.’ It describes it as an ‘old trick used by Antifa’ to locate police officers and plan violent activities’ and was ‘supposedly using the communication to black out police technologies.’
The report says mainstream media continued to ‘push the narrative of so-called police brutality.’
There are multiple holes in the conspiracy theory. There have been multiple actual instances of police using force to subdue protesters, which limits the utility of Gugino deliberately falling backward onto his head, putting himself in a situation which could cause brain damage or death.
It cites newly released videos but merely captures days-old videos that have already been published, the Washington Post noted. The video itself contains no evidence Gugino was somehow capturing information with his cell phone. It also fails to substantiate the claim that antifa makes use of the tactic or otherwise connect Gugino to antifa, a favorite target of Trump’s.
Two prominent Republican senators turned down the chance to criticize the president when asked about his tweet. ‘I didn’t see it. You’re telling me about it. I don’t read Twitter. I only write on it, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told CNN. Added Texas Sen. John Cornyn: ‘You know, a lot of this stuff just goes over my head.’
Martin Gugino’s history of peaceful activism
Martin Gugino, the 75-year-old man who got pushed to the ground by Buffalo police and who Trump accused of possibly being in on a ‘set up’ has a long history of activism for a range of causes.
The resident of Amherst in upstate New York outside Buffalo has been involved with the Western New York Peace Center.
‘He’s a gentle person who really believes that he must stand up for what he thinks is right,’ his friend Terrence Bisson told the Buffalo News.
He has advocated for closing the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, climate change, and other issues. He has protested the treatment of child immigrants at the southern border.
Martin Gugino pictured with actor Ed Asner
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown called him an ‘agitator’ and President Donald Trump claimed after watching a video where Buffalo police shoved him that Gugino ‘fell harder than was pushed.’
Trump tweeted that Gugino ‘could be an ANTIFA provocateur’ but did not provide evidence of a connection to the loosely-defined left-wing group.
‘He’s the last person you would want to push down. He’s the kind of person who you would want to speak up,’ said Bisson.
‘He’d never shout or oppose someone. He would ask questions if he thought something was not right,’ Bisson told WKBW.
The day before he got pushed by police, he posted a tweet that said ‘F*** the police.’
On June 4, he tweeted: ‘Protests are exempt from curfews because Congress (and mayors) may make no laws that abridge the right of the people peaceably to assemble and complain to the government. The government should receive the complaint with thanks, not arrest the people or beat them.’
He has been photographed holding signs dealing with detention of immigrants and Guantanamo.
THE CONSPIRACY THEORIES PUSHED BY TRUMP
Claiming a 75-year-old peace protester pushed to the ground by police is an ANTIFA provocateur who was trying to jam their radios is the latest in a long line of Trump’s conspiracy theories. Others from his political career include:
TED CRUZ’S FATHER SHOT JFK
In May 2016, before Cruz dropped out of the 2016 presidential race, Trump seized on a National Enquirer story which claimed to show the Texas senator’s father Rafael Cruz having breakfast with Lee Harvey Oswald.
‘His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot,’ he told Fox News. ‘I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this? Right? Prior to his being shot. And nobody even brings it up.’
He later said he was only highlighting the National Enquirer, adding: ‘They got OJ. They got [John] Edwards.’ Cruz’s campaign said the picture was not of Rafael Cruz.
MARCO RUBIO AND TED CRUZ CAN’T BE PRESIDENT
Trump retweeted a theory that because both Rubio’s parents were born in Cuba and Cruz’s father was born there too, they could not become president. Trump’s mother was also not a natural-born citizen so if the theory was true, he would be ineligible.
JOE SCARBOROUGH MURDERED HIS ‘INTERN’
Trump has recently repeatedly accused his friend-turned-archenemy, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough of playing an unspecified role in the tragic death of Lori Klausitus. She worked for the Morning Joe host when he was a Florida Republican congressman in 2001 and was found dead at one of his offices early one morning.
An autopsy said she had an undiagnosed heart condition which caused her to fall and strike her head; Scarborough was in Washington D.C. at the time. But Trump has latched on a debunked theory he was involved and demanded a ‘cold case’ investigation, to the distress of her widower and family almost 20 years later.
THE CLINTONS KILLED JEFFREY EPSTEIN
In the wake of the discovery of the pedophile financier hanging in his cell in a New York federal prison, Trump retweeted a claim that he was part of a ‘Clinton kill list’ because of the former president and first lady’s long association with him. Trump’s own attorney general Bill Barr has said repeatedly that the death was suicide. Trump was also a long-term Epstein associate.
WINDMILLS CAUSE CANCER
Trump has repeatedly claimed that windmills used to generate electricity somehow cause cancer, apparently through the ‘noise’ from them. There is no known scientific theory that lies at the base of his claim but it makes frequent appearances at his free-wheeling campaign rallies.
Former Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona did weigh in. ‘This was a 75 year-old-man shoved to the ground, left bleeding from a head wound. Trafficking in conspiracy theories like these is beneath your office, Mr President,’ Flake wrote.
‘Most of us up here would rather not be political commentators on the president’s tweets,’ said South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune, a Senate party leader.
Credit — dailymail.co.uk