Conspiracy theorists are already claiming that a “false flag” has taken place after a man with a Nazi flag drove into a security barrier near the White House on Monday.
The man, identified by police as 19-year-old Sai Varshith Kandula, was captured on video in Lafayette Square ramming a U-Haul truck into a row of steel bollards before being taken into custody.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing and the man has been charged with, according to U.S. Park Police, threatening to kill or harm a president, vice president, or family member. Other charges included assault with a dangerous weapon, destruction of federal property and trespassing, and reckless operation of a motor vehicle.
The truck was later searched by bomb technicians, who, according to CNN, did not find any explosives or incendiary devices.
While much of the country reacted to the news with concern, right-wing conspiracy theorists immediately began insinuating that the attack had been orchestrated by the U.S. government in an effort to defame them.
“You’re telling me someone drove a Uhaul with nothing but a Nazi flag in it, tried to ram it into the White House, got stuck on a curb, then the police spread out the flag on the pavement so the media can get it in the shot…” one user asked. “The Left needed a narrative change. They got it.”
Numerous references were made to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, which conspiracy theorists likewise believe was perpetrated by the government. In that incident, a Ryder truck was used to carry an ammonium nitrate bomb that detonated outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
Conspiracy theorists further argued that it was no coincidence that thirty tons of ammonium nitrate, a material often used in explosives and fertilizer, being transported across the country by train recently went missing as well.
“Same Playbook… The Oklahoma City Bombing – used ammonium nitrate in a Ryder rental truck,” one user wrote. “May 21: 30 tons of ammonium nitrate missing. May 22: a U-haul rental truck rams security barriers at the White House. Pay attention, people. This isn’t organic.”
Ignored by the conspiracy theorists is the fact that the company transporting the fertilizer pellets ruled out theft as a likely scenario given that the seals on the train car had not been broken. Instead, the company noted that the material almost certainly leaked from the car during transit.
That, and if the government wanted to claim what happened was a bombing attempt, it would have mentioned a bomb.
Nevertheless, right-wing users continue to insist without evidence that the incident was staged.
“I was waking up and thinking we are due for a Good False Flag to distract everyone. And we get this,” another wrote. “Someone crashed a Uhaul into the White House Barricades last night with nothing but a Nazi Flag?!? I really Miss when the Feds Tried harder on these.”
The response online closely resembles what followed after a man with Nazi tattoos opened fire at a mall in Texas earlier this month. Despite the suspect’s social media presence showing overwhelming support for the extremist ideology, Twitter users, including CEO Elon Musk, attempted to paint the tragedy as a conspiracy theory.
Investigators have yet to reveal whether they’ve determined a motive in the attack.