A Donald Trump supporter who went into an anti-Semitic tirade during the candidate’s rally in Phoenix on Saturday — screaming “Jew!S!A!” as the crowd chanted “U!S!A!” — called the whole thing a misunderstanding in an interview with Buzzfeed News.
The man, George Lindell, claimed that his pronunciation of the letter “U” in the name of his country just sounds like “Jew” because, as a house painter, “I’m around Mexican people all the time,” who mispronounce it that way.
“That’s the way I say U.S.A.” he insisted.
What his absurd excuse failed to account for was the fact that he was clearly recorded, by three different members of the media, explaining his chant at the time by shrugging his shoulders and saying, “We’re run by the Jews, okay?”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 30, 2016
Lindell, who was wearing a “Hillary for Prison” t-shirt purchased from the far-right conspiracy site Infowars, also prefaced his remarks by pointing into the media pen at the back of the rally and saying to reporters, “You’re going down — you’re the enemy! You’re the ones working for the devil!”
Alex Jones, the Infowars founder, claimed on his radio show last week that a “Jewish mafia” dictates policy to the United States government.
The incident came after Trump started his remarks by accusing camera crews at the rally of refusing to pan away from him to show the size of the crowd he attracted. “I wish the cameras would turn, people don’t have any idea what’s going on,” he said. “They know,” Trump continued, pointing at the reporters Lindell would berate minutes later. “They are the most dishonest, corrupt people,” Trump added.
Lindell’s outburst, which was accompanied by a hand sign similar to ones used to denote “white power,” came shortly after Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton was controlled by “organized money.”
This was not, strangely, Lindell’s first moment of viral fame. In 2011, after he gave an unintentionally funny interview to a local news station about a car accident he was involved in, that video was transformed into a song, “Reality Hits You Hard, Bro,” by the Gregory Brothers, the comic remixers responsible for “Auto-Tune the News” and “The Bed Intruder Song.”
That Lindell was already a known quantity to some on the internet led some Trump supporters to claim that his appearance at the rally had been set up to embarrass the candidate. However, both a Lindell Paints Twitter feed maintained in his name, and an associated Facebook page, have been devoted for over a year to sharing conspiracy theories from far-right sites like Infowars, with headlines like, “Putin Just Brought the Rothschild World System to Their Knees,” “Synagogue of Satan,” and “Russia Today Declares 9/11 Was An Inside Job!”
At a rally the next day, in Las Vegas, when Trump again suggested that the media was not showing the crowd to conceal his popularity, reporters were given the finger, and subjected to homophobic slurs.
When Trump tells the crowd to boo the media pic.twitter.com/jjaSuvIPun
— Nick Corasaniti (@NYTnickc) October 30, 2016
Man yells as Trump calls for cameras to pan the crowd in Vegas: "Put the camera on us faggot! Put the camera on us queer!"
— Ben Schreckinger (@SchreckReports) October 30, 2016
Trump supporter in Vegas screams at camera operators to show him, then flips them off. pic.twitter.com/2ZSVWsTsl7
— McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) October 30, 2016
This post was updated at 14:37 p.m.