Americans across the country were shocked last week when a video surfaced last week of 75 year old peace activist Martin Gugino being shoved by police in riot gear. Gugino fell to the ground and began bleeding from his ear.
The officers who pushed him were subsequently suspended, prompting 57 officers from that unit to resign in solidarity with them.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump began sowing conspiracy theories on his Twitter feed about the incident.
With the press of the send button, Trump broadcast Gugino's name to his 80+ million followers, branding Gugino as an "ANTIFA provocateur."
Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after… https://t.co/aFgYc1MCfD— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1591706079.0
According to CNN director of coverage John Passantino, the article originally cited by the far-Right One America News Network came from a site called Conservative Treehouse. The piece was written by an anonymous author.
According to the Daily Beast, the OANN reporter who broadcast the story is on the payroll of the Kremlin-owned propaganda outlet Sputnik.
The outcry against Trump and the shady origins of the false story didn't stop the President's latest press secretary—Kayleigh McEnany—from attempting to defend him on Fox News.
Here’s Kayleigh McEnany defending Trump’s attack on a 75-year-old man who was brutalized by police because he alleg… https://t.co/vPPM6GzIvj— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1591801386.0
When asked if the President really believes Gugino is a member of Antifa (which isn't an actual organization), McEnany said:
"The President was raising questions based on a report that he saw. Other questions that need to be asked, and every case we can't jump on one side without looking at all the facts at play. This individual had some very questionable tweets, some profanity-laden tweets about police officers. Of course no one condones any sort of violence. We need the appropriate amount of force used in any interaction. There are a lot of questions in that case."
People found it rich that Kayleigh cited "questionable tweets" as an excuse for police violence, given that a questionable tweet from Trump is what spurred the story in the first place. Trump also routinely rails against law enforcement officers on Twitter.
@atrupar "very questionable tweets?" If that was the standard for measuring someone's guilt, then trump should've… https://t.co/cpbHAD6bGR— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@BrooklynDad_Defiant!) 1591805688.0
@atrupar If "profanity laden tweets about police" justify Gugino being brutalized such that he needed to be hospita… https://t.co/xiTgMMHG4l— NotATweeter16 (@NotATweeter16) 1591801521.0
@atrupar By that logic, have they seen what the president tweets?!— that taylor girl (@that taylor girl) 1591803831.0
@atrupar Lol projection again. Her boss has the most questionable tweets on here.— Hooligan (@Hooligan) 1591801493.0
What's more, it's highly unlikely that the officers who assaulted Floyd knew anything of his tweets.
@atrupar On Trump's America, you can be brutalized by the police for tweeting something which the cops who brutaliz… https://t.co/hFN3pRgzax— Pé (@Pé) 1591801569.0
@atrupar That means they’ve been digging into his background to find anything they could smear him with. I don’t th… https://t.co/phewj1wc1t— Karen Collins (@Karen Collins) 1591801460.0
@atrupar Ahhh yes, the cops who shoved him must have known about his questionable tweets. Makes perfect sense now.— Lou Redwood (@Lou Redwood) 1591801675.0
Gugino remains in the hospital.