Florine Gruen Goldfarb loves America. She is a real, down-home patriot. So much so that she unwittingly promoted Russian-coordinated events on Facebook in support of Donald Trump. Goldfarb, who runs the Team Trump Broward County Facebook page, was one of the 53 percent of white women who backed Trump in 2016 and likely didn’t need Russia’s help to do it. But CNN reports that she did, in fact, promote pro-Trump events that were encouraged by Russian trolls on Facebook.
“I don’t care if they were involved or not,” she told a CNN reporter when confronted about her involvement in Russia-backed events organized by the Being Patriotic Facebook page. “That’s the least important thing.”
So a foreign adversary meddles in the U.S. elections and uses you in the process, yet you are patriotic? OK, Becky. OK.
When the reporter told her that the group was Russian-backed, she denied it—after saying she didn’t care if Russia was involved or not. “I don’t go with the Russians,” she said. Goldfarb said all the people at her meetings were Trump supporters.
That’s the thing, though. Russia didn’t create fake events. They simply found real Trump supporters and backed their cause. CNN reported that Goldfarb and other Trump backers in Florida were duped into believing that they were communicating electronically and over the phone with other Trump supporters. Often, they were speaking to Russians willing to offer financial and logistical support.
One of the people tricked into believing the Being Patriotic Facebook page—which was run by the Internet Research Agency, a troll group in St. Petersburg, Russia (who also had 13 of its members indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller)—was Harry Miller. He was paid “$1,000 by the Russians to build a cage that was used to depict a person dressed as Hillary Clinton in a prison cell at a rally in West Palm Beach, Florida in August 2016,” according to CNN.
The person with whom Miller spoke on the phone didn’t speak fluent English. Figuring that the person was a first-generation immigrant, Miller didn’t find that suspicious.
“They had that beautiful website, were very supportive of the candidate, and there was nothing, nothing at all, that lends you to think it was anything other that people trying to support a candidate,” he told CNN.
Well, at least Miller seems to believe he was tricked.
Goldfarb? Not so much. When the CNN reporter probed her about her communications with Russians connected to Being Patriotic, she denied it and said, “Hillary Clinton was and so was her bandits, Mueller.”
“Bandit” is not a term you hear in the American vernacular every day, but it is commonly used to describe criminals in Russia. Even in Ukraine, where I visit often, the word “bandit” is commonly used to describe criminals. I highly suspect that while Goldfarb may not have met with Russians in person, she may have picked up the word from conversing with Russians electronically or over the phone. Again, I don’t know, but I suspect that this may be the case.
Anyway, check out her two minutes of denial below. It’s pretty hilarious.