In the aftermath of last weekend’s massacre of 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue by an anti-Semite, an all-too-familiar refrain commonly heard made the rounds: The male suspect was a “lone wolf” whose violence was unpredictable and thus couldn’t have been prevented.
President Donald Trump, who has regularly dabbled in or flat-out embraced anti-Semitic tropes, expressed surprise that anti-Semitism still existed in 2018 in his first public remarks following what was likely the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history.
However, an analysis of the social media activity of Robert Bowers, who has been charged with federal hate crimes over last weekend’s massacre, revealed that he trafficked in many of the conservative conspiracy theories about a migrant caravan that have been rceently amplified by prominent Republicans, including Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
Bowers frequented Gab, a social media platform that has become a sanctuary for white supremacists who are banned from Twitter. Bowers reportedly posted on Gab about his plan to kill Jewish people mere hours before the shooting.
A deeper dive into Bowers’ activity on social media further reveals that Bowers frequently engaged with numerous notable white supremacists.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) revealed on Thursday that the suspected mass murderer routinely shared content about globalism, “white genocide,” and racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories from white supremacists like Jared Wyand, Patrick Little, Brad Griffin, and “Jack Corbin.”
And while these are not necessarily household names, they are among the most influential white supremacists in a “movement” that continues to flounder following August 2017’s violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and several sparsely–attended follow-ups.
Wyand, a far-right anti-Semite who counts former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and former prominent conservative commentator Ann Coulter as fans, had over 125,000 followers on Twitter before he was banned in 2016 over an anti-Semitic rant in which he claimed Star Wars was proof of “white genocide.” Wyand then moved his hate speech over to Gab, where he once chatted with Bowers about secure messaging systems.
The SPLC notes the suspected mass murderer shared Wyand’s content over a dozen times on Gab, including one post that is alarmingly similar to the final message sent from Bowers’ account before last weekend’s massacre.
Bowers was also a big fan of Patrick Little, regularly sharing content from the failed Republican Senate candidate who blamed “Jewish supremacists and the Zionists” for his 12th-place finish in June’s California primary. Little, who has called for the “complete eradication of all Jews” and vowed to run for president in 2020, is perhaps best-known as the white supremacist whose father didn’t scream at him during an infamous livestream. (That was Jason Kessler; Little is the one who bombarded Washington state residents with a bizarre robocall in which he called for a white etnnostate in Idaho over the soundtrack of the Rembrandt’s “I’ll Be There For You.” Easy to get these two mixed up!)
Bowers shared Gab posts from Little that referred to the Holocaust as a hoax and advocated for the destruction of Jewish memorials. The suspected mass murderer also shared a post by the California Republican that urged followers to “study the jews” and “get out there and save your people!”
Brad Griffin, a white nationalist blogger who is associated with the neo-Confederate hate group League of the South, took part in the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville that culminated with the murder of Heather Heyer and injuries of 19 others when a white supremacist drove into a crowd of protesters.
The suspected Pittsburgh synagogue shooter shared over a dozen Gab posts from Griffin, including anti-Semitic criticism of the Trump administration for being controlled by “Jewish donors,” defense of a white nationalist who was elected to a Republican Party post in Washington state, and praise of accused attempted rapist and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Bowers’ favorite account on Gab, which operates under the pseudonym “Jack Corbin,” posted content about doxxing and assaulting Antifa members, white supremacy, and homophobic references to gay people as “AIDS carrying flesh muppets” that the anti-Semite who has been charged with federal hate crimes enjoyed enough to share.
The Trump administration recently stopped funding a program that counters far-right extremism.