I guess not, Geraldo. Yesterday:

Today:

I can’t believe it — that is, I can’t believe he was willing to admit error. Most false-flaggers on social media as I write this seem to be grasping for ways to double down.

This tweet by Trump himself before the announcement of Sayoc’s arrest was a wink at the false-flag theory, right? “Bomb” isn’t in quotes by accident, and the attention paid to political consequences suffered by Republicans reeks of a hint about motive.

He’s a conspiracy theorist by nature. The only reason he wasn’t more blunt here, I assume, is because he knew his staff would flip the fark out if he stooped to an overt attempt to conspiracize about this subject (particularly while expecting that the FBI was likely to make an arrest soon and expose the truth). So he phrased his point a bit vaguely, to allow for plausible deniability about what he really meant.

The false-flag theory was built on two assumptions. One is that the bombs weren’t real, since, after all, a left-wing partisan eager to frame the right probably wouldn’t send truly dangerous devices to politicians like Obama whom he admires. The other is that the suspect would take every precaution to evade capture, since, after all, the entire point of a false-flag operation is to have the blame pinned on your political enemies. But the evidence against both claims started stacking up early, as I noted here. The devices were crude but they contained incendiary powder, detonators, and apparent would-be shrapnel. That’s a long way to go if all you want to do is build a dummy device to throw a scare into the recipient. But don’t take my word for it:

As for the alleged false-flagger taking pains to elude capture, he had at least two bombs hand-delivered to their targets and sent multiple bombs to at least two targets (Biden and Maxine Waters). Every superfluous bomb he sent obviously increased the risk that police would find something in the packages or something related to their transit to identify him. In particular, sending any of them by hand seems inexplicable if he was keen to avoid detection since it raised chances that someone would see him with the packages. All available evidence is that the guy either didn’t much care about being caught or wasn’t remotely smart enough to minimize his exposure. That’s the only way the false-flag theory made sense — if you assumed the bomber was an imbecile, willing to risk decades in prison to pin a crime on his ideological opponents and then to take needless chances in his M.O. that made it more likely his plot would fail. The more reasonable explanation for his sending multiple bombs to some targets and having some hand-delivered to others was because he really did want to do them harm and hoped to maximize the chances of it happening.

And yet the false-flag theory lives even now, sort of:

What’s ironic about that is that Sayoc’s sticker-plastered van was so distinctive that people who live near him have posted older photos of it that they took while encountering it out on the road in the past. (Here’s an example. I’ve seen others today but can’t find them now.) You don’t need to guess the age of the stickers on his van to judge how longstanding his dislike for Democrats was, though. This appears to be his Twitter account, with more than 10,000 tweets. Click and just keep scrolling.

Here’s Jeff Sessions being asked what Sayoc’s motive was.