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A man who stormed the U.S. Capitol in a horned fur cap is not an antifa activist. He is a known QAnon supporter who has backed President Donald Trump.
Hours after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, several of his allies in Congress and the media baselessly claimed anti-fascist provacateurs were to blame for the violence.
Some suggested, without evidence, that the crowd backing Trump’s efforts to overturn the election was infiltrated by antifa. Antifa stands for "anti-fascist," and it is not a group but a broad coalition of activists.
Others focused on specific protesters who forced their way inside the Capitol and were shown in photographs, such as a bare-chested man who wore face paint and a horned fur cap.
"These are NOT Trump supporters," said one Jan. 6 Facebook post. "Antifa THUGS." The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
But the mysterious man in horns is not antifa-aligned. The man, Jake Angeli, supports Trump and is a well-known supporter of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory. He goes by the moniker, "Q Shaman," and he told the Arizona Republic he uses his unique outfit to stand out.
Poynter reported that in December, Angeli launched an online crowdfunding campaign to fund his participation in pro-Trump events.
The Arizona Republic described him as "a QAnon supporter who has been a fixture at Arizona right-wing political rallies over the past year." The Associated Press reported that he was also seen in the same signature headwear at a pro-Trump rally Nov. 7 in Phoenix.
Jake Angeli speaks at a rally outside the Maricopa County Recorder's Office on Nov. 7, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP)
PolitiFact’s review of Angeli’s private Facebook page showed photos and posts that indicated support for QAnon and Trump. (Followers of QAnon believe Trump is leading a fight against a global cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles.)
False claims linking Angeli and other people who mobbed the Capitol to antifa took off online in the hours after the event. An NBC News analysis identified thousands of tweets that accused antifa members of "posing" as Trump supporters.
Angeli responded on Twitter when Lin Wood, an attorney who has filed lawsuits seeking to overturn the presidential election, posted photos of Angeli and claimed he is an antifa activist. The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer, who covers QAnon closely, highlighted the exchange.
"Mr. Wood. I am not antifa or blm," Angeli’s tweet said. "I'm a Qanon & digital soldier. My name is Jake & I marched with the police & fought against BLM & ANTIFA in PHX."
There remains no credible evidence that the Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol were antifa activists. Video and photos from the scene show many people wearing and waving Trump-branded paraphernalia and flags.
Trump spoke to a rally of supporters in Washington hours before the violence erupted, and he had urged them to come to the city on Jan. 6 and back his efforts to overturn the election. He encouraged the rally to march to Congress and suggested he’d join them. He did not.
A Facebook post said a man who was photographed storming the U.S. Capitol in a horned fur cap is an "Antifa thug." The man is a known QAnon supporter who has backed Trump.
We rate this post Pants on Fire!
Facebook post, Jan. 6, 2021
Various AP Images, accessed Jan. 6, 2021
Jake Angeli on Facebook, accessed Jan. 6, 2021
Media Matters for America, "Right-wing media claim Capitol Hill rioters are actually 'antifa,'" Jan. 6, 2021
The Associated Press, "Photos show Trump supporter inside Capitol rioting, not antifa," Jan. 6, 2021
The Dispatch, "Were Antifa Supporters Among Those Who Overtook the Capitol Building?" Jan. 6, 2021
The Arizona Republic, "Longtime Arizona QAnon supporter in horned helmet joins storming of U.S. Capitol," Jan. 6, 2021
NBC News, "Trump loyalists push evidence-free claims that antifa activists fueled mob," Jan. 6, 2021
Buzzfeed News, "The Rioters Who Took Over The Capitol Have Been Planning Online In The Open For Weeks," Jan. 6, 2021
Business Insider, "A well-known QAnon influencer dubbed the 'Q Shaman' played a highly visible role in the Capitol siege," Jan. 6, 2021
AlphaMale on Twitter, Jan. 6, 2021
Will Sommer on Twitter, Jan. 6, 2021
BrieAnna J. Frank on Twitter, May 5, 2020
PolitiFact, "A day of crisis at the US Capitol, fact-checked," Jan. 6, 2021
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