Sen. Terrence Murphy accused challenger Peter Harckham of allying with Soros funded hate groups.
BEDFORD, NY — Katonah resident George Soros was the first to receive one of the IEDs sent to Democratic leaders this week. And in a press release Wednesday on the topic of the pipe bombs, New York state Senator Terrence Murphy accused his opponent of links to “Soros funded and Antifa hate groups” and did not mention Soros being one of the bomb recipients.
As well as being a resident of Westchester County, Soros, 88, is one of the wealthiest men in the world and is one of the foremost promoters of international democracy.
So why, in a country where promoting democracy around the world has been a big deal for a century, has Soros been the fallback for just about every right-wing conspiracy theorist? And how did that kind of smearing become standard for the Republican Party?
According to multiple media reports, Russia and the military-industrial complex have been top reasons Soros conspiracy theorizing moved from the fringes to the mainstream.
Business Insider offered readers a comprehensive glance at the ideas that Soros has laid out in books, articles and interviews over years.
They point out the irony of right-wing accusations that Soros is an enemy of freedom, noting that “Soros directly aided the establishment of Eastern European democracy.” But they also point out that in his books and through his Open Society Foundations, Soros writes about and takes action on a number of progressive issues.
And one of them is an attack on modern capitalism, something Soros knows from the inside. “The Crisis of Global Capitalism” became an international bestseller and an instant classic, according to Amazon. Soros now argues that capitalism is a threat to open societies, NewsMax pointed out.
In addition to pointing out the problems of an unfettered free market, Soros is outspoken on the danger of corrupt alliances between government and business.
The first conspiracy theorists who targeted Soros were anti-Semitic eastern European leaders, CBS News said in an article Oct. 24.
But then the philanthropist opposed the administration of President George W. Bush, and right-wing extremist commentators such as Alex Jones became obsessed.
By the time of the 2016 elections, mainstream Republicans had picked up the cry.
Soros’s son Alexander wrote in The New York Times Wednesday about the hate spewed at his father escalating at that time.
“Before that, the vitriol [George Soros] faced was largely confined to the extremist fringes, among white supremacists and nationalists who sought to undermine the very foundations of democracy,” Alexander Soros wrote. “But with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, things got worse.”
In 2016, the Trump campaign ran an anti-Semitic ad reminiscent of the 1930s saying a cabal of international bankers – picturing three Jewish financiers including Soros – have “bled our country dry.”
Then in 2017, Politico reported that the GOP was teaming up with Russia to oppose Soros. The campaign was led by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and included senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Mike Lee of Utah, who said they worried that Soros’s foundations were spreading liberal ideology. It was widely considered a Russian propaganda coup.
Soros is considered a threat by Russia because his foundation continues to work in Eastern Europe supporting democratic institutions in the former Soviet sphere of influence, according to BigThink.com.
President Trump has most recently accused Soros of supporting protests against Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court and of funding the most recent caravan of Central Americans walking from Honduras to the U.S. border.
A Republican National Committee attack ad came out on Wednesdaycalling Soros “a radical.”
Locally, a Soros conspiracy theory was floated by the Murphy campaign Wednesday. The campaign sent out this press release:
Amid news of a potential terrorist ring or serial bomber mailing suspicious packages to elected officials, serious concerns were raised over the installation of a spy camera by State Senate candidate Peter Harckham’s campaign, just days after an individual was arrested for arson after burning lawn signs from the campaign of State Senator Terrence Murphy. Early Monday morning, a trail camera was found secured to a utility pole at the of the district office of Senator Murphy, where earlier, a paid protest group known as the “Missile Dick Chicks” had demonstrated on Harckham’s behalf.
“I am very disappointed to learn about the suspicious packages being delivered to former Presidents, members of Congress and the free press,” Senator Murphy said. “This is an attack on American institutions, and an attack on one of us is an attack on us all. We can all have our philosophical differences but we must respect each other as neighbors. No public figure, candidate or family should have to be worried about their safety. Whether sending suspicious packages, burning lawn signs, or spying on residents and staff, these types of tactics cannot be tolerated.”
This past weekend, arson charges were filed against Robert Steele, 38, a Peekskill resident who was caught by local police burning Murphy lawn signs along Route 6 in Cortlandt. State police observed a Murphy campaign sign on fire adjacent to a bee line bus stop, which was soon extinguished. A witness identified Steele, who was placed under arrested and processed. He is due in Cortlandt town court on November 1.
A week prior, the Harckham campaign directed a paid protest entourage known as the “Missile Dick Chicks” to Murphy’s government office, where the spy camera was installed. The obscene and radical group has been linked to Soros-funded and Antifa hate groups.
On Wednesday, Yorktown Police notified Senator Murphy’s government office that the Harckham campaign’s lawyer would come to retrieve the camera. After discussions with the landlord, he declined to press charges for unlawful surveillance, criminal tampering and trespassing.
“Their over-zealous volunteer who thought they could capture images of residents and my staff coming and going has learned their lesson and jailing them serves no real purpose,” Senator Murphy said. “These kinds of profane intimidation tactics are what people abhor. Folks, don’t mess with lawn signs, don’t be a dick chick, and don’t install spy cameras at your opponent’s office. Don’t be like Pete Harckham.”
The camera was not pointed at Murphy’s office but at a Harckham sign nearby that kept disappearing, Harckham campaign officials said. Over the course of the campaign thousands of dollars worth of their signs have been stolen, campaign officials said; they were trying to monitor some of them. They have filed police reports about all the stolen signs and they removed the camera.
“Regardless, connecting this skirmish over stolen signs to accusations of terrorism is way out of line,” Harckham campaign officials said.