"Apparently, you have committed the horrible sin of invoking the name of George Soros on Twitter."
So said one of the hosts of KTLK's Justice & Drew radio show on Halloween morning. His tone was not serious. His co-host cracked up.
"George Soros," Doug Wardlow replied, "and his family have supported PACs [political action committees] that have supported [Keith] Ellison. That's what we've pointed out."
And here is what's been pointed out to Wardlow: that he should probably hold off on referencing one of America's richest Jewish Democrats in the days after the country's worst anti-Semitic terrorist act ever. Especially if the shooter was into conspiracies about how Jews are bringing Latino migrants to "kill our people" (read: white Christians), as inspired by watching Fox News and communicating on the "pro-hate speech" website Gab.
Once upon a time it was the Rothschilds who were said to be planning Christanity's downfall. George Soros, 88, is simply the new kid on the block, a self-made billionaire bogeyman whose chief offense against believers in Christ's resurrection is helping get Barack Obama elected and scaring Glenn Beck. (Though what doesn't?)
Whispers of Soros' hidden influence in American politics have been around since at least the 1980s, according to Carin Mrotz, executive director of Jewish Community Action.
"It's true that [Soros] is a big funder of the left," Mrotz says. "And so are a bunch of non-Jews who are not household names."
Doug Wardlow has mentioned Soros at least six times on social media since August, always in a fundraising appeal. Donate now, Wardlow urges followers, so he can stop Soros from "trying to buy the election" by having "bankrolled" his opponent, "Crazy Keith" Ellison.
Wardlow appears to have stopped referencing the octogenarian Jew since October 22, when a pipe bomb built by Cesar Sayoc was mailed to Soros' New York home. Soros was Sayoc's first target; subsequent explosives arrived at the homes of Obama and Hillary Clinton, among other Democrats.
Had the violence stopped there, Carin Mrotz might never have gotten the chance to confront Doug Wardlow about his Soros obsession. But the violence continued.
On Sunday night, Mrotz was standing in line to enter Minneapolis' Temple Israel, awaiting a memorial to honor victims in the Tree of Life shooting. Friends around her noticed that among those queued up for the service was Wardlow, whose upsetting tweets they'd been watching for some time.
"People around me were saying, 'This just feels wrong,' and 'He shouldn't be here, it's insensitive,'" Mrotz says.
Wardlow was not only let in, Mrotz says, but sat in the front row of the synagogue, alongside other political figures from the Republican Party. (Doug Wardlow did not respond to City Pages' requests for comment.) Mrotz thought hard during the service about whether she should approach him.
"I felt a physical discomfort with my community in this moment," she says. "So to approach him after the service was, for me, pretty freaky."
She did it anyway. Mrotz says Wardlow offered a cold greeting as she explained her point.
"I said to him, 'I don't know if you know the George Soros language you've been tweeting is an anti-Semitic trope, but it puts my community in danger. And I would really like if it you would stop, and denounce it, so others would stop doing it.'"
Mrotz says Wardlow wouldn't make eye contact, casting his gaze just over her shoulder as he said, "Anti-semitism, that's despciable," or something along those lines.
"I said, 'If you belive that, it would be great if you would stop this,'" Mrotz says. "I explained it again. I said 'Something terrible happened yesterday.'"
Wardlow kept looking past Mrotz, she says, and repeated the same line to her. Other noteworthy Republicans interceded, physically blocking Wardlow from this conversation with Mrotz. She left the service unfulfilled but unashamed by the confrontation.
On the Justice & Drew show, Wardlow said the acccusations of anti-Semitism he's faced -- or, in Mrotz's case, could not bear to face -- are "preposterous" and "irresponsible."
Mrotz can't bring herself to listen to that clip yet, but feels the same way about Wardlow's consistent messaging about a man who was recently victim of a near-assassination, and how that obsession led to the event that brought her and Wardlow together at Temple Israel in the first place.
"This is what they're doing this year," she says. "They don't apologize, they don't take it back. They double down. This is beyond partisan politics for me. This is about the fact my community is experiencing violence."