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Sofia Ahmed
By Sofia Ahmed January 25, 2024

Did Alex Soros issue a death threat against former President Donald Trump? No, that’s Pants on Fire!

If Your Time is short

  • The Gateway Pundit pointed to two pictures that appeared on Alex Soros’ X account as evidence he "tweeted out an obvious threat against President Trump."

  • The images — side-by-side photos of a bullet hole in glass and a hand holding dollar bills — were Getty Images stock photos that appeared in an article on inflation and crime in The Atlantic, the hyperlink to which Soros shared on X.

  • Nothing in Soros’ X post or the article mentioned a threat of violence against Trump. A spokesperson for The Atlantic said the images were selected through the magazine’s typical editorial processes and Soros played no role. A Soros spokesperson said the X post it was not a threat.

The headline and story sounded shocking: A leading Democratic donor’s son issued a death threat against former President Donald Trump.

The allegation, however, came not from law enforcement or federal prosecutors. Instead, the proof The Gateway Pundit cited was a single X post from Open Society Foundation chair Alex Soros, son of billionaire philanthropist George Soros, a favorite target of far-right conspiracy theories.

"Last year, the crime and inflation crises largely evaporated," Alex Soros wrote Jan. 21 on X. "So did the leading theories about what had caused them."

His post linked to a Jan. 19 story in The Atlantic by staff writer Rogé Karma titled, "The Great Normalization," about the simultaneous drop in violent crime and inflation in 2023, despite dire predictions that each was on an unprecedented rise.

Neither the story nor Alex Soros’ post mentioned a threat of violence against Trump. But The Gateway Pundit — and some Trump supporters, including conservative activist Laura Loomer and Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser — focused on two images that appeared automatically in the story’s preview: a bullet hole in glass and a hand holding dollar bills.

"Alex Soros Tweets Out Bullet Hole and 47 — A Direct Violent Threat to Donald Trump!" Gateway Pundit’s headline read; the story quoted an anonymously posted 47-word blog post from a website called both "The Conservative Treehouse" and "The Last Refuge" that read:

"Alex Soros, the son of George Soros, sends a message via his Twitter account that is troubling. Being subtle like a brick through a window the billionaire leftist posts a picture of a ‘Bullet Hole’ and ‘$47.’ President Donald Trump is going to be the 47th President."

There is no evidence Soros’ X post is a veiled threat against Trump.

The pictures in the article are stock images from Getty Images — images that a Google reverse-image search showed have been used with countless articles over the years, including in Bloomberg News, Barron’s, CBS, Marketplace and The Hill

Anna Bross, a spokesperson for The Atlantic, said the magazine’s "art department created an illustration from two stock photographs to accompany a story about the rates of crime and inflation." 

She said the claim that the stock images contain a coded threat against Trump is "absurd and irresponsible." Soros, she said, had no role in selecting the article’s images.

The Gateway Pundit did not answer PolitiFact’s request for comment. 

(Screenshot of Gateway Pundit article) 

Loomer’s X post criticizing the image described it as "a call for assassination embedded in the pictures, pointing to the $47 sum of the cash pictured and asserting "there’s messaging conveyed through the arrangement of the money." 

Misinformation expert Darren Linvill, co-director of the Watt Family Innovation Center Media Forensics Hub, likened the claim to QAnon conspiracy theorists’ efforts to draw hidden meaning from Trump’s actions and other unrelated events. (Loomer has promoted QAnon claims.)

In its stock image caption, Getty describes the cash image simply as "hand holding out money," and dates its origin to "circa 1950s." An Open Society Foundations spokesperson said in an emailed statement that Soros’ post was not a threat: "Alex was sharing the positive news that crime and inflation are trending downward — developments that should be celebrated by all Americans. Nothing less, nothing more."

Alex Soros was named Open Society’s chair in 2023. His father is a regular target of conspiracy theories that PolitiFact has repeatedly reported on and debunked. George Soros, born in Hungary in 1930, is an American citizen and Holocaust survivor who advocates for liberal social causes and frequently donates to Democratic politicians. Linvill said Soros’ "extreme wealth, ethnic and cultural background, as well as his interest and support of politically salient issues" make him a popular target. 

We rate the claim that Alex Soros sent a violent death threat to Trump through an X post Pants on Fire!

Our Sources

Alex Soros X post (archived), Jan. 21, 2024

The Atlantic, The Great Normalization, Jan. 18, 2024

The Gateway Pundit, Alex Soros tweets out bullet hole and 47 – A direct violent threat to Donald Trump!, Jan. 21, 2024

Mike Flynn X post (archived), Jan. 22, 2024

Laura Loomer X post (archived), Jan. 22, 2024

Getty images, Hand holding out money - stock photo, accessed Jan. 23, 2024

Bloomberg, Don’t steal money from day traders before they lose it, Sep. 6, 2018

Barron’s, Only a third of hedge funds charge ‘2 and 20’ fees, says expert, Nov. 10, 2018

CBS Austin, Taxpayers in Texas receive average refunds of $4,082, study finds, April 5, 2021

The Hill, Fix elections by allowing unlimited campaign cash, Sep. 22, 2023 

Marketplace, How to access your hard-earned money before payday, July 6, 2016

PolitiFact, No, George Soros is not a Nazi who funds antifa, Aug. 6, 2020

PolitiFact, Conspiracy theory falsely connects George Soros to COVID-19, March 19, 2020

PolitiFact, George Soros is not mastermind behind startup news outlet the Missouri Independent, Dec. 3, 2020

PolitiFact, No, George Soros and his foundations do not pay people to protest, June 1, 2020

PolitiFact, No, Zelenskyy and Soros are not cousins, April 7, 2022

Email exchange with Open Society spokesperson, Jan. 23, 2024

Email exchange with misinformation expert Darren Linvill, Jan. 23, 2024

Email exchange with Atlantic spokesperson Anna Bross, Jan. 24, 2024

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

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Did Alex Soros issue a death threat against former President Donald Trump? No, that’s Pants on Fire!

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