Near Buffalo, however, the idea that Mr. Gugino was one of them struck many as absurd.

“Antifa? Oh, heavens no,” said Judy Metzger, 85, a longtime friend who lives near Mr. Gugino in Amherst, a suburb of the city. “Martin is a very gentle, a very pleasant person.”…

Mr. Buckley said he was disturbed that Mr. Gugino — “a 75-year-old elder,” as he put it — had effectively been tarred as a thug by Mr. Trump and his supporters.

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“He’s one of the most gentle people I know,” Mr. Buckley said. “He’s not aggressive at all. But people make up the most insane stories so they don’t have to deal with reality.”