Lawmaker sorry for spreading anti-Semitic weather conspiracy

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Trayon MartinImage source, Trayon Martin
Image caption,
Trayon White Sr is a councilmember in Washington, DC

A local lawmaker in Washington, DC, has apologised for sharing a video based on a conspiracy theory that Jewish financiers control the weather.

Councilman Trayon White Sr posted a video of snow flurries on Friday and warned of "climate manipulation".

He blamed the Rothschilds, a famous Jewish business dynasty, who are a target of anti-Semitic conspiracies.

Mr White apologised for his comments on social media and said he "did not intend to be anti-Semitic".

"I really do apologise," he said on Twitter. "I work very closely with the Jewish community and never want to offend anyone, especially with Anti-Semitic remarks."

The lawmaker said his Jewish friends were helping him realise the way his comments said in the Facebook video were rooted in anti-Semitic thought that dates back centuries.

"I see I should not have said that after learning from my colleagues," he said.

The video, posted on Facebook on Friday morning, is shot through the windshield of a car driving in downtown Washington.

"Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y'all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation," he is heard saying.

"And DC keep talking about, 'We a resilient city.' And that's a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful."

Conspiracy theorists allege that the Rothschilds, in conjunction with the famed American Rockefeller family, use technology to secretly manipulate the weather.

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The Rockefeller Foundation's Resilient Cities initiative, which provides grants to cities that address climate change, is the target of many of these theories.

Mr White's comments insinuate the long-standing theory that the family manipulates world events for their own personal gain.

He initially confirmed his voice in the video to the Washington Post. When asked to clarify his comments in a series of text messages, he said: "The video says what it says."

He later apologised in a full statement.

Jews for Justice, a Washington-based advocacy group that endorsed the official in 2016, said it was working with him to understand how his comments were anti-Semitic.

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Fellow council member Brianne Nadeau, also a Democrat, said she believed Mr White did not intend to offend the Jewish community.

"I believe he is being truthful when he says he didn't realize what his statement implied," she told local radio station WTOP.