Idaho State Rep Calls Conspiracy Theory Claiming BLM Staged Charlottesville Violence 'Plausible'

Image via YouTube.
Big Time Small-Time DicksWelcome to Big Time Small-Time Dicks, a regular column on The Slot that explores local politicians, small-town scandals, and everything else making life miserable on a local level.

Idaho State Rep. Bryan Zollinger is trolling the media pretty hard right now with a series of Faacebook posts in which he’s been sharing a ridiculous conspiracy theory that progressive organizations and activists staged the violent rally in Charlottesville in order to undermine the Trump administration.

Zollinger posted a horribly written screed from conservative outlet the American Thinker, in which a writer named Patricia McCarthy calls “[t]he ridiculous campaign by virtually every media outlet, every Democrat, and far too many squishy Republicans to label Trump some kind of racist and Nazi sympathizer” an “orchestrated smear” by Black Lives Matter, Charlottesville’s mayor Michael Signer, and others on the left.


In the piece, McCarthy equates Black Lives Matter protesters with white supremacists and characterizes them as “demented racists”:

Since that day, the call to remove the statues on display that honor any members of the Confederacy has become shrill and frenzied. Erasing American history benefits no one and only condemns us to repeat past mistakes. The supremacist groups had a permit; they had applied months earlier. The Antifa and Black Lives Matter groups did not have a permit. The local police at some point, on whose order we do not know, turned the pro-statue groups toward the Antifa and BLM groups, many of whom were armed with lethal weapons - soda cans filled with cement, bottles filled with urine, baseball bats and boards with screws protruding to do maximum harm, and improvised flamethrowers. These are the people who initiated the violence. How was this not a planned melee? Pit groups of demented racists — all of them on both sides are certainly that — against each other and violence is sure to occur. (Certainly, there were decent people among the protestors and counter-protesters who had no affiliation with the supremacist groups or Antifa or BLM. Heather Heyer was among them.)


She argues that Trump’s response—in which he blamed “both sides” for the violence perpetrated by neo-Nazis and insisted that some “very fine people” marched alongside them—was appropriate and accurate.

“So were the events of Saturday the result of a despicable plan to further undermine Trump?” the piece concludes. “There was plenty of time and Charlottesville is the ‘capital of resistance.’ If it was, it was evil and deadly and the people involved need to be prosecuted. Or is this a wild conspiracy theory? Perhaps. But the pieces fit.”


This is some Alex Jones-level fuckery, but Zollinger found this theory so compelling that he shared it on his Facebook page and continued to defend it as “plausible” in the comments. “Wow, I found this article to be interesting if not thought provoking. I found some of the theories to be plausible and others to be maybe somewhat far-fetched,” he wrote.

In two follow-up posts, he called the removal of Confederate Monuments “revealing of the broken college system we have and the breakdown of the family” and, for some reason, paired this comment with a George Orwell quote.


He also posted a big Fuck You to the media for covering his “innocuous” facebook post, saying that it’s led to an “outpouring of support from friends and fellow Idaho Falls residents.” Sadly, I might believe him about that.


Share This Story

Get our newsletter

About the author

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is a senior reporter at Jezebel.

PGP Fingerprint: B7A9 2B02 F165 5FE7 8031 E88B 9635 8A16 D538 82C2