News by VICE

It looks like Trump heard a joke on Fox News about paid protesters and thought it was real

“The paid D.C. protesters are now ready to REALLY protest because they haven’t gotten their checks - in other words, they weren’t paid!”

by Rex Santus
Oct 9 2018, 2:33pm

President Donald Trump awoke Tuesday morning upset again about paid protesters. But this time, seemingly out of nowhere, he pondered why some protesters hadn’t been paid yet.

“The paid D.C. protesters are now ready to REALLY protest because they haven’t gotten their checks — in other words, they weren’t paid!” Trump tweeted. “Screamers in Congress, and outside, were far too obvious — less professional than anticipated by those paying (or not paying) the bills!”

Trump was most likely referring to protesters against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the senators supporting him. Many of the protesters shouted at and confronted senators in the hallways of the Senate buildings as they prepared to vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation. Dismissing them as paid protesters is an effort to discredit the public backlash to Kavanaugh.

Trump’s tweet early Tuesday seems to have been inspired by — what else? — a Fox News segment.

Asra Nomani, a conservative writer, appeared on Fox News to discuss her op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that linked protest networks in Washington, D.C., to billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

When asked if protesters were, in fact, paid, Nomani responded, “Well, on the onset, because people have sent me lots of messages that they’re waiting for their check, a lot of sincere people are protesting.”

Nomani told Mediate that she was being sarcastic, and it appears that Trump misinterpreted her joke as the truth.

“It’s not the individual protesters that are getting the money,” she added on Fox and Friends. “But it is the organizations that are running these protests.

It’s the second time in a week that Trump has publicly lambasted the alleged existence of paid protesters. Trump tweeted that Soros funded the “elevator screamers” who were protesting senators voting in favor of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and he even alleged, with zero evidence other than an affinity for homemade artwork, that protest signs were too professional and clearly “not signs made in the basement from love!”

There’s little evidence to support that paid protesters even exist in any substantial way, though paid actors are a different story: The Hollywood Reporter found Trump had hired paid “actors” to boost the crowd cheering at Trump Tower when he announced his bid for the presidency in 2015 — and it was later reported his campaign didn't pay the hiring company for months.

Cover: President Donald Trump speaks to reporters upon arrival at White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, from a trip to Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Tagged:
supreme court
fox news
paid protesters
trump's tweets
kavanaugh