A former FBI assistant director used numerology on MSNBC to link neo-Nazism to President Donald Trump’s decision to fly the federal government’s flags at half-staff to honor victims of the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

Frank Figliuzzi floated the unsubstantiated conspiracy theory Monday during an interview with anchor Brian Williams.


Figliuzzi, an MSNBC contributor, said Trump’s decision on the flags would appeal to neo-Nazis and supporters of Adolf Hitler because of the date that the flags would return to full mast.

Earlier Monday, Trump ordered flags to be lowered for three days to honor the 31 killed in the two mass shootings.

Figliuzzi said that he was “not going to imply” that Trump deliberately timed the flag maneuvers to appeal to neo-Nazis, but then he laid out his theory to an unflinching Williams.

Figliuzzi said:

The president said that we will fly our flags at half mast, until August 8th. That’s 8/8. Now, I’m not going to imply that he did this deliberately, but I am using it as an example of the ignorance of the adversary that’s being demonstrated by the White House.

The numbers 88 are very significant in neo-Nazi and white supremacy movement. Why? Because the letter ‘H’ is the eighth letter of the alphabet, and to them the numbers 88 together Stand for ‘Heil Hitler.’ So we’re going to be raising the flag back up at dusk on 8/8.

Williams, the MSNBC anchorman, appeared to accept Figliuzzi’s rationale.

“I know you’re keeping your options open there, Frank, but as chilling as that is to hear, you’re saying it’s possible that someone who knows better is authoring or editing the words that show up and are read verbatim, or are supposed to be read verbatim, by the president,” Williams said.

Democrats and many in the media have blamed Trump for the El Paso shooting at a Walmart, which left 22 dead and 24 others wounded or injured.

Patrick Crusius, 21, who was arrested and charged in the massacre, allegedly posted a manifesto shortly before the shooting Saturday in which he railed against the “Hispanic invasion.” 

In a speech Monday, Trump condemned white supremacy and racism, and called the El Paso shooting an act of domestic terrorism.

Connor Betts, 24, who police said killed nine and wounded or injured 27 others early Sunday in Dayton’s entertainment district, was an avowed leftist, although it is still unclear whether his political beliefs played a role in the attack.

FBI officials working the case said they have evidence that Betts embraced “violent ideologies,” but did not describe them. Police killed the gunman within a minute of his opening fire.

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