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How fake news starts: Trump supporters tie Bernie Sanders to Alexandria shooting using a fake quote

James Hodgkinson protests outside the U.S. Post Office in Belleville, Ill. (Derik Holtmann/BND)
James Hodgkinson protests outside the U.S. Post Office in Belleville, Ill. (Derik Holtmann/BND)

The gunman who attacked Republican congressional members at a baseball practice Wednesday morning campaigned for Sen. Bernie Sanders during the presidential election.

It didn't take long for some to connect the shooting to Sanders himself. One person in particular, Jack Posobiec — a Trump supporter who has pushed the conspiracy theory surrounding DNC staffer Seth Rich's death — especially fueled that idea.

"Just 4 days ago Bernie Sanders ordered his followers to 'take down' Trump," he tweeted.

Sanders did not say that. Posobiec seemed to pull it from a CNN headline that describes Sanders' nearly hourlong speech at Sunday's People's Summit.

The headline, "Sanders to faithful: Take down Trump, take over Democratic Party," refers to Sanders' message of resistance to the establishment rule, one that he campaigned on and since has reiterated, and his strong criticism of Trump.

 (Screenshot image of CNN headline)
(Screenshot image of CNN headline)

Sanders called Trump "perhaps the worst and most dangerous president in the history of our country" in his speech and ended by saying, "I want you to think about the incredibly brave heroes and heroines in our history against unbelievably daunting odds who risked their lives for social justice, for economic justice, for racial justice."

But he did not at any point say anyone should "take down" the president.

CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield, in her description of Sanders' speech, said he urged supporters "to take down President Trump's agenda."

But the mischaracterization hasn't stopped people from retweeting Posobiec, who has hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers. The tweet also made its way to the top of "The Donald" subreddit — a discussion group for Trump supporters.

Sanders since has commented on the shooting.

"Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society, and I condemn this action in the strongest, possible terms," Sanders said.

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