Mark Reed, a radio host and Republican-backed congressional candidate in California, recently posted a conspiracy theory meme to social media claiming that it's “odd that the George Floyd psy-op” happened “just as COVID-19 loses traction,” using a military term for a “psychological operation.” Social media has been a cesspool of conspiracy theories and misinformation related to Floyd’s death and the coronavirus.
Reed, whose campaign website describes him as a “successful actor, small businessman, rancher and an advocate for constitutional government,” is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman in California’s 30th Congressional District. He is also the co-host of the internet-based weekly talk show The Voice of Reason. Reed lost congressional races for the seat in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018. The Republican Party of California has endorsed Reed’s campaign.
On June 8, Reed posted a right-wing meme on his Facebook and Twitter pages which claimed that “it is odd that the George Floyd psy-op/precursor to an Antifa terrorist insurgency happened just as COVID-19 loses traction. It is odd that COVID-19 happened the moment the impeachment failed. Odd too; the impeachment happened the moment that Russian hoax failed. Russian hoax happened because Hillary lost the 2016 election. Can you see the pattern?”
He also posted on social media about philanthropist George Soros and antifa, writing on May 30: “More facts will surface. We know #GeorgeFloyd of TX moved to MN, a few years ago. He worked SECURITY for a bar that also hired Derek Chauvin, who had a history of violence behind the badge. Was George infused with drugs willingly or not? Was he sacrificed for Soros-Antifa agenda?”
Other Republicans have posted conspiracy theories about Floyd’s death, including four county party chairs in Texas. Media Matters recently documented that another Texas GOP group -- the Republican Party of Travis County -- hosted a meeting featuring remarks from Infowars host Owen Shroyer, who has promoted claims that Floyd’s killing and funeral were a hoax.
The California GOP is currently endorsing QAnon conspiracy theorists and congressional candidates Mike Cargile and Buzz Patterson. The state party also endorsed QAnon supporter and congressional candidate Joanne Wright, who did not finish in the top two in the California primary and is no longer running (the party said it endorsed her automatically because she was the only Republican running in that district).