The conservative website Breitbart has been very critical of reports that a pro-Hillary group paid liberal activists to incite violence at Trump rallies. The reports, based on an undercover video by investigative filmmaker James O’Keefe, were explosive and resulted in the dismissals of at least two Democrat activists from the group Democracy Partners. Now it appears that Breitbart may have used similar tactics to disrupt the campaign events of Trump opponents in the Republican primary.
A report from Politico cites an unnamed source who said that Aaron Black, one of the Democracy Partners activists featured in O’Keefe’s videos, worked with Breitbart during the primary. According to the source, Black, who was also an organizer for Occupy Wall Street, had an informal alliance with Breitbart, “tipping it off about his stunts, exchanging raw video and coordinating coverage” of Black’s antics at events for Republican candidates.
“He [Black] worked directly with Breitbart’s political team on the ground in the primary states to sabotage Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and elect Trump as nominee of [the Republican] party,” the source told Politico. “[Black] was coordinating with [Breitbart’s] top staff to rabble rouse against Rubio at rallies.” The source says that Black was friendly with the Breitbart staff and that contacts were made by phone, email and in person.
In one widely circulated picture, Black, dressed in a silver robot costume, confronted Rubio in a hallway. Video from New Hampshire shows Black and other activists heckling Rubio supporters last February. A Breitbart “exclusive” from February details a physical confrontation between a robot-costumed protester and the chairman of Rubio’s New Hampshire campaign. The Breitbart story identifies the protester as Aaron Black.
Breitbart supported Donald Trump early in the primary and was particularly critical of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. The relationship between the website and the Trump campaign became even more cozy when Paul Manafort was forced to leave the campaign due to his close ties to Vladimir Putin. Trump replaced Manafort, his campaign manager, with Steven Bannon, Breitbart’s chairman.
After the death of founder Andrew Breitbart, Bannon’s leadership turned the website from a respected conservative news source to a transparent, laughable propaganda page. Former Breitbart editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro wrote in the Daily Wire that Bannon “has shaped the company into Trump’s personal Pravda…the facts are undeniable: Breitbart News has become precisely the reverse of what Andrew would have wanted.”
It is unconscionable that a conservative website like Breitbart would work with a radical liberal activist against other conservative Republicans. To condemn Hillary’s campaign for the same tactics that Breitbart used only underscores Steve Bannon’s hypocrisy.