Donald Trump’s deeply irresponsible conspiracy theory on the Buffalo man injured by police
An elderly man approaches a police line in Buffalo, New York. He is pushed backward by police, stumbles and falls, hitting his head on the pavement. Blood immediately begins to pour from his ear. None of the officers stop to help him.
“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 I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”
In the segment, footage is shown that suggests the man, Martin Gugino, 75, “was appearing to use common Antifa tactics” when he approached the officers.” That tactic? Using his phone to “scan” police communication. The OAN reporter claims that Gugino was using police tracking software on his phone. But there’s absolutely no way of telling that from the clip; what’s on the screen of Gugino’s phone is not visible. And he could just be gesturing with the phone. Again, there’s simply no way of knowing.
Given all of these facts, the level of irresponsibility here on display by Trump is off the charts — even for him. While Gugino remains hospitalized, Trump is suggesting that this is all some sort of orchestrated fake. That the man “fell harder than was pushed.” That he was “aiming a scanner.” That it “could be a setup.”
That Trump not only believes that OAN is a credible network but takes its wild conspiracy theories and broadcasts them to his 80-plus million Twitter followers — all the while denigrating and attacking actual independent journalism — speaks to how far he is willing to go to promote his preferred political agenda.
And so, Gugino becomes an Antifa plant, according to Trump. And the cops become wrongly maligned martyrs of the wild left.
But that isn’t what the facts say. Not even close. And whether Trump believes it or not, the facts can and do matter.