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John Michael Posobiec III (// pə-SOH-bik; born December 14, 1985) is an American alt-right internet troll and conspiracy theorist best known for his pro-Donald Trump comments on Twitter. He has promoted fake news, including the debunked Pizzagate conspiracy theory that high-ranking Democratic Party officials were involved in a child sex ring. He has been retweeted by President Trump. As of 2018, he was working as a correspondent for One America News Network, a conservative cable news television channel.
Early life and military career
Posobiec was born and raised in Norristown, Pennsylvania to a family of Polish descent. His parents were both Democrats. He attended Kennedy-Kenrick Catholic High School and then went to college at Temple University. While at Temple he rebelled against his parents' political allegiance, became the chairman of the Temple University College Republicans, and started a chapter of Students for Academic Freedom, an organization run by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He also did a summer internship for Sen. Rick Santorum and volunteered for Rep. Curt Weldon's unsuccessful reelection campaign in 2006. He graduated from Temple with a double major in political science and broadcast journalism.
After graduation Posobiec worked for the United States Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, China. He played a minor role in the film The Forbidden Kingdom released in 2008. He later worked for WPHT, a conservative talk radio station and later for the campaign of Steve Johnson in the 2010 Pennsylvania lieutenant gubernatorial election.
Posobiec is a lieutenant junior grade naval intelligence officer. He served several tours in the Navy Reserve from 2010 to 2017, including a deployment at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. In March 2017, Posobiec resigned from his Office of Naval Intelligence position, saying that his support for Trump led to a "toxic work environment". As of August 2017 his security clearance was suspended and under review.
Posobiec describes himself as a "Republican political operative". He has called his recent work "reality journalism—part investigative, part activist, part commentary", and has said: "I'm willing to break the fourth wall. I'm willing to walk into an anti-Trump march and start chanting anti-Clinton stuff—to make something happen, and then cover what happens." Will Sommer, an editor at The Hill, has said Posobiec "make[s] stuff up, relentlessly", and that "there's no one at that level."
Conspiracy theories, falsehoods, and unsubstantiated claims
- Posobiec was one of the biggest promoters on social media of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which falsely claimed that high-ranking officials were involved in a child-sex ring centered at a Washington, D.C. pizzeria. He live-streamed an investigation of the pizzeria and was asked to leave after attempting to broadcast a child's birthday party being held in a back room. Posobiec later said he had always thought the Pizzagate theory was "stupid" and had filmed his visit to debunk it.
- In December 2016, Posobiec claimed without evidence that Disney had re-written scenes in the Star Wars movie Rogue One to add "Anti Trump scenes calling him a racist", and called for a boycott of the Star Wars franchise. Disney denied the allegations.
- Posobiec falsely said that former FBI director James Comey, at a United States Senate hearing on May 17, 2017, "said under oath that Trump did not ask him to halt any investigation". The claim was later repeated by conservative personalities and media outlets, including Rush Limbaugh and the InfoWars website.
- Posobiec promoted the discredited conspiracy theory that Seth Rich had leaked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks.
- Posobiec promoted a hoax that CNN had published and then deleted an article defending Bill Maher's use of a racial slur.
- In June 2017, shortly after Republican congressman Steve Scalise was shot during a baseball practice, Posobiec falsely tweeted that Loretta Lynch had previously called for "blood in the streets" and that Bernie Sanders had ordered his followers to "take down" Trump.
- In December 2017, Posobiec, along with Cernovich, The Gateway Pundit, and InfoWars, promoted a false theory that a passenger train derailment near Dupont, Washington was linked to the Antifa anti-fascism movement.
- Posobiec has frequently tweeted about the white genocide conspiracy theory,
- In October 2019, after Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a White House national security official and decorated Iraq war veteran, testified in Congress about President Trump requesting that the Ukrainian President investigate his political rival Joe Biden, Posobiec falsely claimed that Vindman had been advising the Ukrainian government on ways to prevent Trump from implementing his foreign policy goals.
- In September 2016, Posobiec praised Richard Spencer on Twitter as "indispensable". He later sought to distance himself from the white supremacist, deleting his supporting tweets and calling Spencer a "scumbag".
- In October 2016, Posobiec posted a tweet that included triple parentheses, an anti-semitic meme.
- In May 2017, Posobiec hired neo-Nazi brothers Jeffrey and Edward Clark to help create a documentary about the murder of Seth Rich for The Rebel, a far-right Canada-based website. Jeffrey Clark was arrested by the FBI on gun charges after saying that the Jewish victims of the October 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting "deserved exactly what happened to them and so much worse". Posobiec later said that he had never heard of Jeffrey Clark and had never made a documentary about Seth Rich, even though HuffPost published photographs of Posobiec and the Clarks working together.
- In August 2017, following a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that led to violent clashes between white nationalists and anti-protesters, Posobiec said that the rally had become "massive propaganda" for the left and that the mainstream media was "fanning the flames of this violence." He said that Trump should have disavowed Black Lives Matter. Posobiec later tweeted that he had consistently disavowed white nationalism and violence. He also tweeted that he was "done with trolling" and that it was "time to do the right thing."
- He has repeatedly published posts containing the white supremacist code "1488", or the Fourteen Words, and is a supporter of the slogan.
Support for Donald Trump
During the 2016 election, Posobiec was a special projects director of Citizens for Trump, a pro-Trump organization.
- Posobiec led a campaign in November 2016 to discredit anti-Trump protesters by planting a sign at a protest reading "Rape Melania". He later denied his involvement and said he had been questioned about it by the Secret Service.
- Posobiec was an organizer of the DeploraBall, an event held on January 19, 2017, to celebrate Trump's inauguration.
- For two months in 2017, Posobiec was a correspondent for The Rebel, a far-right Canada-based website. He was granted press access to the White House in April 2017, but he left the next month after allegations arose that he had engaged in plagiarism. According to Philadelphia magazine, during his short time in the White House press pool Posobiec "seems to have been charged in the press briefing room with haranguing legitimate journalists and running out the clock on press conferences with inane softball questions and Dear Leader obsequiousness."
- On June 16, 2017, Posobiec disrupted a Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar that depicted the title character as a President Trump-like figure. Posobiec was prompted by Mike Cernovich, another alt-right conspiracy theorist, who had offered a $1,000 prize for anyone who interrupted a performance. Posobiec was escorted from the event along with fellow protester Laura Loomer, who was arrested for disorderly conduct after refusing to leave the stage.
- On June 4, 2017, Posobiec tweeted, "There's never been a terrorist attack at a Nascar race. Nascar fans are all armed. Draw your own conclusions." His comment was widely ridiculed on social media.
- Posobiec organized a "Rally Against Political Violence" in Washington, D.C. on June 25, 2017 to condemn the shooting of Scalise. The rally drew a sparse crowd. Richard Spencer, another alt-right figure who organized a separate, competing rally at the same time, ridiculed Posobiec's event and called it "pathetic".
- Posobiec promoted e-mails and files leaked to 4chan of Emmanuel Macron shortly before the French presidential election in 2017. Posobiec celebrated the leak at a party hosted by Milo Yiannopoulos.
- In October 2017, Posobiec and Cernovich formed a super PAC called #Rev18 and announced its support for Josh Mandel in the 2018 U.S. Senate election in Ohio.
- In November 2017, Posobiec encouraged his Twitter followers to target a woman at her workplace after she came forward with allegations that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore had attempted to have sex with her when she was 14 years old.
- In Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district special election in March 2018, Posobiec supported Democrat Conor Lamb over Republican Rick Saccone. Posobiec described Lamb as a "Pro-Trump Dem veteran".
- In July 2017, Posobiec handed out flyers thanking Democratic senators for "protecting our quality violent porn content", including "ritual Satanic porn videos". The flyers were distributed outside the U.S. Senate at a demonstration in support of net neutrality.
- On August 16, 2017, Posobiec participated in a small protest of a statue of Vladimir Lenin in Seattle, Washington, to have it removed.
- In April 2018, Posobiec criticized Google for not having a Doodle for Easter.
On January 24, 2018, the dating app Bumble removed Posobiec from its platform, after the company was alerted and linked the profile with his Facebook account. Posobiec denied ever having a Bumble account and said he would file an identity theft complaint.
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