Every time tragedy strikes the nation, conspiracy theorists crawl out of the woodwork to offer alternative stories for how events unfolded — if they did at all.
Most people, and especially most politicians, wave away these baseless assertions.
Rep. Paul Gosar is apparently not one of those people.
The Arizona Republican appears to have accepted one of the latest conspiracy theories circulating fringe internet discussion forums: That George Soros, the politically active billionaire investor, funded the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in early August that touched off a series of violent clashes there between neo-Nazis and counterprotesters.
In an interview with Vice News published Thursday, Gosar said the rally might have been “created by the left” and that Soros “is one of those people that actually helps back these individuals.”
Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler, who Gosar called an “Obama sympathizer” in his Vice interview, has said he once considered himself a liberal and voted for Barack Obama. But he has since decried the “white genocide” he believes is striking the nation.
“Who is he?” Gosar asked of Soros. “I think he’s from Hungary. I think he was Jewish. And I think he turned in his own people to the Nazis.”
The interviewer asked Gosar a direct follow-up question: Did he believe Soros funded the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville?
“Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out?”
A spokeswoman for Soros’s Open Society Foundation refuted Gosar’s theory, which is popular in the right-wing periphery led by its bullhorn, radio host Alex Jones.
“George Soros survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary, and he has spent his life supporting efforts to ensure that such terrifying authoritarianism never takes root again,” the spokeswoman told Vice News.
Soros routinely spends millions of dollars each election cycle to try to help Democrats win election.
“He was 14 years old when the war ended. He did not collaborate with the Nazis. He did not help round up people. He did not confiscate anybody’s property,” the spokesman told Vice. “Such baseless allegations are insulting to the victims of the Holocaust, to all Jewish people, and to anyone who honors the truth. It is an affront to Mr. Soros and his family, who against the odds managed to survive one of the darkest moments in our history.”