Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., suggested Thursday that George Soros, a major Democratic donor, was behind the August white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that led to clashes with counterprotesters.
In an interview with Vice News, Gosar initially said the Unite the Right rally may have been orchestrated by the political Left, a claim he said was supported by the fact the event's organizer, Jason Kessler, previously supported former President Barack Obama and attended an Occupy Wall Street rally.
"Let's look at the person that actually started the rally," Gosar told Vice News. "It's come to our attention that this is a person from Occupy Wall Street that was an Obama sympathizer. So, wait a minute, be careful where you start taking these people to. And look at the background."
The Arizona Republican then said Soros, who funds numerous liberal organizations, backs people like Kessler.
"You know George Soros is one of those people that actually helps back these individuals," Gosar said. "Who is he? I think he's from Hungary. I think he was Jewish. And I think he turned in his own people to the Nazis. Better be careful where we go with those."
When asked if he believes Soros funded the white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis who rallied in Charlottesville in August, Gosar said, "wouldn't it be interesting to find out?"
A spokesperson for Soros' Open Society Foundations disputed Gosar's claims and said they are an insult to him and his family.
"George Soros survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary, and he has spent his life supporting efforts to ensure that such terrifying authoritarianism never takes root again. He was 14 years old when the war ended. He did not collaborate with the Nazis. He did not help round up people. He did not confiscate anybody's property," the spokesperson said in a statement. "Such baseless allegations are insulting to the victims of the Holocaust, to all Jewish people, and to anyone who honors the truth. It is an affront to Mr. Soros and his family, who against the odds managed to survive one of the darkest moments in our history.
"He abhors violence in any form and has never funded it. Never has. Never will," the spokesperson added.
After counterdemonstrators clashed with white nationalist groups in Charlottesville, conspiracy theories emerged suggesting Soros may have behind the rally, which they believe was organized by an "Obama sympathizer."
Kessler told Snopes he voted for Obama and was interested in Occupy Wall Street's stance against globalism. He also said he attended a demonstration of Occupy Charlottesville.
But the organizer of the Unite the Right rally said his political positions began to change during Obama's second term.
Alex Jones, founder of InfoWars, has pushed the theory that Soros had a hand in the Charlottesville rally.