Almost immediately after news broke that explosive devices had been sent to a variety of President Donald Trump’s critics, a “false flag” conspiracy theory began to percolate on the far right, emerging from fringe message boards and gaining traction on social media before edging into the mainstream press.
The theory, as many on the far right posited without evidence, was that the bombs were the work of a Democrat who was hoping to make Republicans and Trump look bad a few days before the 2018 midterm election.
But with the arrest Friday of Cesar Sayoc Jr., a suspect who vehemently supported Trump, some conservatives are calling for a dose of reality.
“There was every reason to doubt that the bomber was a legitimate Trump supporter before we knew anything about him,” tweeted Matt Walsh, a widely followed writer for The Daily Wire, a conservative news outlet. “But now that we do have info on him, it would be kooky conspiracy theory territory to stick with the ‘false flag’ hypothesis. Clearly the guy is just a nut.”