There is no evidence to back up his claim, which appears to stem from a viral Facebook post that circulated over the summer.
Donald Trump doubled-down Tuesday morning on a bizarre conspiracy theory about a plane full of black-clad rioters and looters that has been thoroughly debunked.
Trump first floated the conspiracy theory on Laura Ingram's Fox News program Monday night, claiming without evidence that "we had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that."
There is no evidence of any such flight, according to multiple outlets. Trump's account, however, matches a viral Facebook conspiracy theory from June claiming a group of anarchists flew from Seattle to Boise to cause trouble. That rumor circulated enough that the Payette County Sheriff's Office was forced to issue a statement clarifying that the Facebook post contained "false information."
Trump was asked about his earlier claims on Tuesday, before flying to Wisconsin to meet with law enforcement and survey property damage in Kenosha following several nights of unrest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. He insisted to reporters that the debunked conspiracy was true, but provided no evidence other than suggesting a person on that plane had told him about the experience.
Trump refused to identify his source.
From a press availability at Joint Base Andrews on Sept. 1, 2020:
REPORTER: Can you tell us more about this plot that you were referring to on Fox News last night?
DONALD TRUMP: The which?
REPORTER: This plot of people gathering on a plane [inaudible]...
TRUMP: Yeah, I can tell you — I can probably refer you to the person and they could do it. I'd like to ask that person if it was OK. But a person was on a plane said that there were about six people like that person, more or less.
And what happened is the entire plane filled up with the looters, the anarchists, the rioters, people that obviously were looking for trouble. And the person felt very uncomfortable on the plane.
This would be a person you know, so I will see whether or not I can get that person — I'll let them know and I'll see whether or not I can get that person to speak to you.
But this was a firsthand account of a plane going from Washington to wherever. And I'll see if I can get that information for you.
Maybe they'll speak to you, maybe they won't.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.