Republican lawmakers have distanced themselves from President Donald Trump’s tweet on Tuesday morning that baselessly accused Martin Gugino, the 75-year-old Buffalo protester who was shoved to the ground by police, of being an “antifa provocateur.” Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) all said they had not seen the tweet. “I didn't see it. You’re telling me about it. I don't read Twitter. I only write on it,” Rubio, who is very active on Twitter, told CNN. Senator John Thune (R-SD) said he had seen the tweet but he had not seen evidence to support the “serious accusation” that the president was making. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) called Trump’s tweet “shocking” and said he “won’t dignify it with any further comment.”
Republican National Committee spokeswoman Elizabeth Harrington deleted a retweet of the president’s original tweet. In her retweet, she had quoted from a news article that said the Buffalo mayor had accused Gugino of inciting looting and vandalism—however it later emerged that the mayor was referring to a different protester.