President Trump implies — without evidence — that protesters who confronted Flake were 'paid'

On Friday morning, President Trump implied on Twitter without evidence that sexual assault survivors that confronted Sen. Jeff Flake in a Capitol Hill elevator were "paid professionals."

"The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers," Trump tweeted.

Trump's unproven claim refers to an incident on Friday as Sen. Jeff Flake boarded an elevator to head to a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Flake had just told reporters that he would vote to send Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Senate floor.

As Flake boarded the elevator, sexual assault survivors held the doors open and questioned his decision to vote for Kavanaugh despite assault allegations levied against him. The women told Flake that they were survivors of sexual abuse, and asked if their stories mattered to him.

Flake ultimately called for a delay in a full Senate vote so the FBI could investigate the claims. He then voted to send Kavanaugh's nomination to the Senate floor.

 

 

Trump is known to watch cable news shows during morning hours, and his tweet came just minutes after a CNN interview with Ana Archila, one of the protesters who confronted Flake.

Trump's tweet also contained an unproven right-wing conspiracy theory that billionaire George Soros pays actors to protest for left-wing causes. Snopes has debunked a number of these theories, including one that implies those protesting against Kavanaugh were paid.

 

 

Fox Business anchor also asked Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in an interview on Friday morning whether he believed that Soros was paying protesters. Gassley said he "tends to believe it."

 

 

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.

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