It’s been said that we live in the golden age of conspiracy theories. With internet access and smartphone ownership at an all-time high, the American Past time that is spreading rumors, half-truths and conspiracy theories has become so omnipresent that it’s not only injected itself into popular culture but it’s also been able to somehow find itself into the mind and Twitter feed of the President of the United States. Some anti-Trump sites have gone so far as to label him the “Conspiracy Theorist in Chief” and he took a lot of heat (something he’s got to be used to at this point in time) this week after he brought up a debunked conspiracy theory about a television host that he dislikes (it’s a mutual deal), for example, and also basically entered the (recent) political realm after promoting the also thoroughly debunked “Birther” theory surrounding the birth of former President Barack Obama. So, let’s look into the Top 15 Conspiracy Theories that President Trump has promoted both on to his way to the White House and on his way to… Mostly Mar-a-Lago.
15. Joe Scarborough Murdered his Assistant
Joe Scarborough is a (former) Republican congressman from Florida who served from 1995 to 2001 and represented the first district down in the sunshine state. He’s mostly known for his two television shows on MSNBC, the first being Scarborough Country (which no longer airs) and his most recent show Morning Joe (Which he hosts with his soon-to-be wife Mika Brzezinski. He rather abruptly resigned from the House in 2001 and said the decision was fueled by the desire he had to spend more time with his kids as they got older. However, the resignation seems odd as he was only five months into his fourth term as a congressman and could’ve basically handpicked his successor as he ran unopposed in his last election. The fact that his 28-year old aide, Lori Klausustis, died in his office near his desk two months prior also raised suspicion and a lot of people have used her untimely death as a way to indict Scarborough and label him a murderer and adulterer whenever he goes off the reservation and says something they don’t like (as it’s mostly right-wing sites pushing this theory). So, despite the fact that the medical examiner found that she had fainted due to a heart defect and hit her head on a desk doesn’t seem to “matter” to Trump (whether or not he actually believes a lot of what he says is debatable), who has been feuding with the Scarborough family for quite awhile after Joe essentially left the Republican party because of their support for Trump.
14. Obama Founded ISIS
Now, there is an argument that Trump was being facetious, sarcastic and also sort of hoodwinking people when he said (over and over and over, with a count of 20 in one week alone during the campaign) that Obama (and Hillary Clinton) were the founder(s) of ISIS. On one level, what he was implying was that because Obama did a poor job of managing the war in Iraq, he was asleep at the wheel during the rise of ISIS. However, as Trump does on a regular basis he also tried to talk out of both sides of his mouth later by adding the vaguest statement possible about Obama and ISIS. Trump was discussing Obama and his commitment to fighting what he calls Radical Islamic Terrorism on his favorite show, Fox and Friends, and he said that Obama was either “not tough, not smart” enough to fight groups like ISIS or that “something else is going on”. Using one of his favorite tactics Trump continues that “the something else” is something that he “can’t believe” and that the “something” is “inconceivable” repeating, again, that there’s something going on. Gettysburg Address eat your heart out.
13. 9/11 Celebrations in the Streets
Before Trump was elected President (and perhaps before The Apprentice as well) there were very few people that other people associated with New York City more than Donald Trump. He made his claimed billions during the era of Reaganomics and while he was a Democrat at the time, he still took complete advantage of the lax regulations and tax-loopholes to amass a number of buildings in New York. While 9/11 hurt and shocked everyone in the world, really, but the country as well, it really, really affected the people of New York because the millions of people that live there all experienced something that hopefully none of us ever will. Trump was part of that and he was really pretty respectful about the whole situation after it happened and up until his “conversion” to the right. At the time there were some rumblings going around that Arabs/Muslims in a certain city, state or country were celebrating in the streets when the towers fell. That changed to a charge that CNN had used old footage from 1991 of Palestinians dancing in the street to imply that they had been celebrating 9/11 as well. While that was being said there has never been any proof of sustained or group celebrations in the US. Despite that, Trump used that to trumpet another debunked claim, which was that he remembered watching people in Jersey City, New Jersey celebrating in the streets on television. Not only did he claim that he saw this but that it was “thousands” of people out celebrating. It didn’t happen and he was referring to the CNN footage.
12. Ted Cruz’s Dad Killed JFK
Trump engaging in personal attacks and conspiracy theory parroting worked well for Trump as an outside candidate who was coming to attack those in power (something a lot of people thought was a LONG time coming), once you become the person in power you have to do more than just attack people. Either way, one person who Trump attacked and will probably “randomly” attack again in the future was Ted Cruz’s father whose name is Rafael Cruz, Sr. Cruz, Sr. is a Cuban and was an anti-Castro activist when he was younger and because of that and a picture of the eventual assassin of John F. Kennedy handing out literature with a young Cuban man (who some say is/resembles Cruz, Sr.), it is said by people on the right (who dislike Cruz) that his father had something to do with JFK’s assassination. The picture in question was of Oswald and the mystery man handing out “Hands Off Cuba!” pamphlets in New Orleans during the summer of 1963 and while the man does sort of resemble a young Cruz, Jr. the picture that people are basing the likeness on is from nine years before the above picture which isn’t exactly the sort of evidence you can rely on to make declarative statements, unless you’re Trump.
11. Marco Rubio isn’t Eligible to be President
In addition to Ted Cruz (Who was born in Canada to parents who had American Citizenship as well), Trump loved to spread the theory that his other Latino competitor in the primaries in Marco Rubio wasn’t eligible to be President of the United States (Not to mention his obsession with where Barack Obama was born). Rubio was actually born in Florida on May 28th, 1971. His parents were from Cuba and had left there in 1951 to avoid the whole Communism thing. So while the accusations against both Cruz and Obama were about where they either were or supposedly were born (respectively), the ineligibility theory surrounding Rubio was about where his PARENTS were born (as they were again, both from Cuba, and to be fair some people also said that it didn’t matter where Obama was born as his father wasn’t a citizen of the United States and thus Obama was only some sort of… Half citizen?). There was a lawsuit in Broward County, Florida, that challenged the eligibility of both Cruz and Rubio and it was something Trump latched onto with glee by retweeting a… Tweet that stated that Rubio wasn’t a citizen and was thus ineligible to actually be President. He said, “I think the lawyers have to determine that” saying that his comments on the situation were simply a “retweet” and not his actual thoughts.
10. Lock Her Up…
Outside of the phrase “Make America Great Again” (or MAGA), which is something he lifted from Ronald Reagan’s campaign for President (which explains Trump so well), Trump’s campaign is especially well known for one phrase that his audience loved to chant over and over again. That phrase is “LOCK HER UP!” and was something that Trump often started or participated in and was essentially his followers’ response to all of the crimes that both Clinton’s had committed over the years. Trump has used supposed crimes by Clinton (by Tweeting about the “murder” of Vince Foster, or talking about the Clinton Foundation’s illegal donations (known as “Pay to Play”), or her “negligence” during the attack on the US Consolate in Benghazi) to bolster his campaign, get his crowd all amped up or even to distract from his own actual criminal investigation while in office and he’s used them almost perfectly (at least in terms of his base and the moderates who determine every Presidential election). It’s extremely dangerous, however, to call for the arrest of your political opponents as it just smells a lot like a dictatorship. Locking up one’s political opponents is the cornerstone of many dictatorships and while the Clinton’s do have a lot of baggage (which is part of the reason why she was such a terrible choice for the Democrats in 2016, and choice is the right word as she used her power and connections in the Democratic Party to basically sideline Bernie Sanders, which isn’t illegal but is a perfect example of why she was a bad candidate) there’s nothing illegal behind what they’ve done.
9. …Before She Dies, Anyway!
One of the prevailing conspiracy theories throughout the 2016 Presidential Campaign beyond the whole “The Clinton’s are International Criminals” is that Hillary Clinton was essentially either dying or suffering from some sort of persistent head injury after she fainted and hit her head and home, suffered a concussion and formed a blood clot in a vein in her head. She had received a few treatments for that clot and was on medication for it, as if it were to burst she’d have a stroke or brain hemorrhage and could die. The treatment was mainly to thin her blood as to alleviate the formation of other clots and to ensure that she was properly hydrated, as dehydration is a major risk factor for blood clots and was the reason that she fainted in the first place. Hillary was seen stumbling into her motorcade about a month before the election which seemed to give credence to the right-wing theories that Hillary simply wasn’t physically able to take on the stress that came with being President of the United States (Just look at the before and after pictures of every President basically since the advent of photography), though it was a very hot day and Hillary had been dealing with walking pneumonia for a few weeks before that. Trump, ever aware of the conspiracy theories that in some way involve him, masterfully used his ability to dog-whistle conspiracy theorists (and others) during speeches and Tweets to touch on the issue vaguely without really delving too far into it.
8. Vaccines Cause Autism
The theory goes that the ingredients meant to keep the vaccine from essentially going bad, which include toxic materials like mercury, are giving children developmental disorders like autism and Aspergers. Because of that, there has been a growing movement in the United States that refuse to vaccinate their children or if they do they pick and choose which vaccines to use or stagger the vaccination dates as to not overload their child’s system with mercury or other preservative toxins. Because of this, diseases that haven’t been seen in the United States for years like the Measles have been popping up in children and while some people say that it’s the parents choice and only their family suffers that’s not true as there’s a thing called herd immunity and that immunity protects the young, elderly and sick from catching diseases and really even protects the vaccinated as these diseases mutate and could still make you sick even if you have the vaccine. While it had appeared that the anti-vaxxers were losing steam thanks to the fact that no one was booking Jenny McCarthy anymore and Jim Carrey essentially went insane (I bet it was his flu shot), Trump decided to dump a tank of kerosene on the coals that was the remaining anti-vaccination crowd by saying that he agreed with the notion that vaccines are a huge problem. Before and after running for President he jumped on the anti-vaccine bandwagon by Tweeting things like “I am being proven right about massive vaccinations– the doctors lied. Save our children & their future.”
7. The “Grab ’em by the “P****” Tape is “Fake”
While it was never thought that Trump could actually realistically beat Hillary Clinton in last year’s election, he wasn’t as far behind as people thought he’d be (mostly because Clinton was the worst candidate ever) about a month or so before the election. That’s when a recording from a 2006 appearance by Trump on Access Hollywood was “leaked”, in it Trump describes how he needs some Tic Tacs because he’s about to meet a woman for the taping and he can’t help himself when he see’s beautiful women, “He just kisses them”. He was speaking to Billy Bush, one of the hosts of Access Hollywood (back then), and also a cousin to another Republican President in George W. Bush. Bush is heard laughing at Donald’s stories (like how he moved on fellow Access Hollywood host Nancy O’Dell “Like a B****”) and egging him on, which ended up costing him his job on a different television show while Trump went on to become the leader of the free world. Trump continued that he can essentially just kiss those women because “When you’re a star they let you do it” following that with “They let you do anything…”, which was followed by the most famous five words spoken by an eventual President since “I cannot tell a lie” in “Grab ’em by the P****”.
6. Justice Scalia was Murdered so Obama Could Nominate Another Supreme Court Justice
Up until this point, perhaps outside of the “Obama Founded ISIS (or consciously or subconsciously supports them)” most of Trumps theory spouting hasn’t been aimed at the United States government or it’s institutions but rather at people or races of people. While that’s all troubling it’s especially troubling when a candidate for the Presidency (especially one that goes on to win) states theories like that Antonin Scalia was murdered so that Obama could install another liberal on the Supreme Court and basically have a liberal majority for the next thirty to forty years. As while Obama wasn’t allowed to nominate a candidate, had he been able to it would’ve undermined the legitimacy of an entire branch of the government to a large enough percentage of people to start to sow even more discord and distrust in this country. Up until recently, while people may have agreed or disagreed on certain things, they still believed that the institutions that the United States does have are objectively good and legitimate. So, when Trump said on a radio show that Scalia was found with a pillow over his face after dying in his sleep, people listened and when it was said that Scalia didn’t have an autopsy a furor was born. At least part of that had to do with why Obama’s nominee, Eric Garland, never received a confirmation hearing and was completely overlooked when Trump was inaugurated and quickly chose someone else for the job.
5. The Birther Conspiracy Theory
When President Trump is asked a tough question about his beliefs, he doesn’t defend his point of view but rather deflects the question by saying that “A lot of people believe it” and also “He doesn’t know, but…” not to say or not that he is saying that he doesn’t actually know, but rather that basically, he is attempting to just say that he is just asking the question. For example, when talking about the training camps for Radical Islamist terror groups inside the United States he said “A lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there,” and when he was asked about Vince Foster’s “murder” (which was a big conspiracy theory back during the Bill Clinton administration) he say “A lot of people are very skeptical as to what happened and how he died.” People like to say that Trump is stupid, but that really doesn’t seem to be the case as sales books, such as Trump’s “own” book (he had a ghostwriter, as many people do) ‘The Art of the Deal’ most likely says, pushing a position of neutrality is one of the first things you learn about proper negotiation. So, when he toured the country to promote the birth controversy he rarely stated his out point of view and instead just asked a lot of questions. He asked why Obama hadn’t released his birth certificate yet, he stated the words of other people (saying things like Obama’s grandmother said he was born in Kenya) but never openly said that he believed that Obama was definitely not born in the United States, just that he could’ve been born outside of the United States.
4. US Intelligence Leaked Dossier
As you will read in the #1 entry on this list, there was a “Private Intelligence Dossier” created during and preceding the 2016 election that contained information about Donald Trump’s activities in and with Russia. Also called the Steele Dossier it was compiled by former MI6 intelligence officer Christopher Steele who has a spotless reputation in intelligence communities and now works in the private sector compiling opposition research for campaigns. Despite the deflection that it was the Democrats who paid Steele for this document and because it involves information from and about Russians it was actually the Democrats colluding with the Russians, it’s actually common practice for campaigns to pay for information like this and it was done through a third party who wasn’t working with the Russian government as it was basically indicting that government in the Dossier. Also, the information was initially paid for by a conservative political website and then was picked up by the Hillary Clinton campaign. The dossier claims that Russia has damaging information about Trump (including a tape of Trump information prostitutes to urinate on a bed that Hillary Clinton had slept in) which the government could or is using to blackmail Trump into doing what they say. It says that Trump has been being cultivated and supported by the Russian government for five years and that the Russian government had numerous contacts with Trump’s campaign.
3. The Government Knew 9/11 was Coming
Trump already made this list once for resurrecting and repeating a conspiracy theory about 9/11 and while that entry was dangerous as racism is dangerous, this entry is different and a lot more dangerous for a couple of reasons. First, let’s get into what Trump actually said about 9/11. Early on in the primaries, Trump was sparring with Jeb Bush, who was the brother of former President George W. Bush and in response to Jeb talking about how his brother kept America “safe” Trump said (on CNN’s New Day) that “[W. Bush] could have made some mistakes with respect to the actual hit because they did know it was coming”, now keep in mind that this is a candidate for the Presidency (and the future President) stating that the last administration that was run by the party of which he was attempting to win the nomination, was aware in advance that 9/11 was going to happen. He continued “George Tenet, the head of the CIA< told them it was coming, so they did have advanced notice and they really didn’t work on it”. Now, like all things in the world this is hard to prove or disprove as there are a lot of variables involved but the general consensus from objective investigations is that the Bush administration was warned of attacks by Al Qaeda but because the intelligence they receive isn’t 100% there wasn’t a certainty as to where the attacks would take place or when they’d take place (or how).
2. Voter Fraud
A large part of Trump’s campaign was based on the notion that essentially the everything in the United States is rigged. After the near end of the way of life in the Western World as we know it in 2008, there was palpable anger across the bottom 90% of the country in terms of how elite institutions and the people in charge of them both game the system and avoid any sort of accountability when that gaming backfires on them and everyone else. Trump was a gigantic underdog in the Republican Primary and while it was a shock that he won it really wasn’t a surprise towards the end as he had amassed a pretty large and fervent following on the right. But, movements on one side of the political spectrum, especially the kinds that Trump had, don’t always translate into general victories because movements that are based on groups that are on the far-left or the far-right, especially, have a hard time convincing moderates to join their cause once the general election starts. Sensing that he could lose and parroting a “report” from conspiracy guru Alex Jones that stated that the election could be rigged, Trump began pointing out that the election system was compromised and that things were rigged against him.
1. That Russia is Made Up by the Left Wing (and Media) to Explain Away their Embarrassing Loss in the 2016 Election
Most of this list is comprised of conspiracy theories that were at some point popular, then debunked, then dead and then finally given new life once Trump brought them up for his own gain. However, the Russia conspiracy theory is different as it was created by Trump (and his campaign) to deflect any reports or questions about his (or their) connection to Russia during that campaign. While some people may have grown bored of hearing about Russia, Russia, Russia or think that the fact that the above-mentioned Dossier was partially paid for by the Democrats (after the Republicans paid for its inception as part of run of the mill investigations into Trump during the primaries) somehow means they were “colluding” with the Russians. First off, the facts of that situation are that a former spy from the UK who was a spy for the UK (and thus our side) in Russia before leaving to join the private sector and is thus known as a Russian expert, used his contacts and knowledge to obtain knowledge about Donald Trump in Russia. That’s different from working with Russian officials directly (which is against the law) and also promising certain things should the help get you elected (especially when the Russian government is attempting to hack the United States’ election machines and sway the opinion of its populace by posting fake news on social media and in the comments section(s) of influential sites. If that isn’t enough of an explanation (as “They’re both getting information from Russia!”) the bottom line is that the UK Spy was getting information about Trump from people in Russia without their knowledge as to where or what the information was for (with no long term gain to come from it outside of perhaps some money from his company) and once the information was obtained the interaction was over, where as the way the Trump campaign handled it was to work directly with people in the Russian government who wanted Trump to be elected while reportedly (according to some of the recent information about his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s guilty plea) promising an ease on sanctions both before and after being elected.