President Donald Trump tweeted a video out on Thursday afternoon that depicts money handed out to a large group of people in a Spanish-speaking country, with the cryptic and ominous caption: “Can you believe this, and what Democrats are allowing to be done to our Country?”
The tweet only makes sense if you understand that the video has been identified (at least among conservatives on Twitter) as footage of the migrant “caravan” of thousands of Hondurans currently walking through Guatemala.
Conservative firebrand Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) characterized this as such when he tweeted the video on Wednesday, suggesting it was evidence that George Soros was funding the caravan. (We don’t know where Gaetz got the video from — for all we know, it may not be footage of the caravan at all.)
BREAKING: Footage in Honduras giving cash 2 women & children 2 join the caravan & storm the US border @ election time. Soros? US-backed NGOs? Time to investigate the source! pic.twitter.com/5pEByiGkkN
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) October 17, 2018
It’s possible that this really is footage of the caravan, and that the money being handed out is for people to (for example) buy food.
But Soros, the Hungarian-born billionaire and target of right-wing conspiracy theories, has nothing to do with the caravan. Nor does the caravan’s timing have anything to do with the midterm elections — although it does provide a convenient news hook for Republicans’ closing argument that a vote for Democrats is a vote for “open borders” and mass invasion.
Trump’s blame of “Democrats” is in line with his (comparatively, somehow, less conspiratorial) tweets from Thursday morning, in which he accused Democrats of causing the caravan to exist because they oppose shutting down the US-Mexico border entirely and support the idea that people should be allowed to seek asylum, consistent with US law.
The caravan is probably never going to make it to the US.
It’s still legal for people to seek asylum in the US, even without papers.
Trump continues to tweet, unconstrained by conventional ideas about reality, truth, or coherence.
We cannot explain to you what Trump thinks is going on in this video. This is all we know.