It took Trump’s family and friends under an hour after a mass shooting at a congressional Republican baseball practice to win the awards for “Worst Reaction to a Mass Shooting.” And sadly, many Trump voters appear to be eating it up.
Both Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump Jr. managed to promote unsubstantiated and largely debunked information coming out to push a narrative that the shooter had targeted Republicans and not Democrats. The reality is: Nobody knows why the shooter did it. Not yet.
Don and Kellyanne both used a single source: Rep. Jeff Duncan, whose narrative began coming to pieces shortly after he had made the comment.
The man Duncan and other Republicans described as having asked whether the people playing baseball were Republicans or Democrats looked nothing like the man who later shot at them, as numerous reporters began noting.
The description of the guy who asked lawmakers if GOP or Dems was practicing and the actual shooter appear to be different people.
Unclear whether this was actually the shooter, though https://twitter.com/thehill/status/874976485928574977 …
In fact, as Andrea Mitchell reported, the FBI is now saying it does not appear to, at first glance, have a political motivation.
Despite that lack of confirmation, right-wing media ran with the unsubstantiated reports like they were official statements by investigators. Drudge, in one egregious example, even misquoted one of the Republicans at the scene to make it seem like the shooter said he wanted to kill as many Republicans as possible. Breitbart and InfoWars both quickly joined in. No such words were said.
The White House released a statement saying the president had been “briefed” on the situation, but it’s unclear what his briefing looked like. Trump gets much of his news from Drudge, Breitbart and Fox News. It’s entirely possible that the President of the United States believes the lies being spread by right-wing media and his advisors.
At this time no one knows the true motives of the shooter. Police have him in custody and, unlike Trump’s son, are conducting a thorough investigation before blasting out unsubstantiated reports into the public. Rather than waiting, the right-wing media and Trump’s own White House decided to exploit the tragedy in order to further their agenda of smearing liberals. It’s beyond maddening to watch the group who once called President Obama “divisive” for expressing sorrow for Trayvon Martin now openly and gleefully delight in spreading vitriol and lies about their political opponents.