Since long before his inauguration even took place, Trump has been propagating conspiracy theories and falsehoods to his followers.
Now that he’s president, that hasn’t died down, and it’s only gotten more dangerous the more supporters and Twitter followers he has to believe the lies he spreads. More often than not, he spreads conspiracy theories via a retweet, implicitly endorsing the idea to his 63 million followers.
On Saturday, he retweeted a conspiracy theory that the Clintons were involved in Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide. The tweet read: “Died of SUICIDE on 24/7 SUICIDE WATCH ? Yeah right! How does that happen #JefferyEpstein had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead I see #TrumpBodyCount trending but we know who did this! RT if you’re not Surprised #EpsteinSuicide #ClintonBodyCount #ClintonCrimeFamily”. Keen to double down, he also retweeted someone claiming that Bill Clinton took trips to Epstein’s “pedophilia island”.
As shocking as Trump’s insistence on pushing these bold claims may be, it’s far from the first time he’s participated in the spreading of conspiracy theories. Here are just a few:
1. That Obama wasn’t born in the US
While considering running for president in 2012, Trump became the most prominent figure to question the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate. He claimed that he had private investigators looking into Obama’s place of birth, and despite being discredited many times, is still pushing the theory. One senator told the New York Times that Trump had a “hard time letting go” of the idea.
2. Windmills cause cancer
Maybe one of the more out-there theories, Trump claimed earlier this year that wind turbines “lower house prices” by 75 per cent and that the “noise causes cancer”. He went on to imitate the wind turbine noise, just in case you weren’t sure what they sounded like. The point he was really stuck on, though, was the idea that they’re a “graveyard for birds” and “wipe them all out”.
3. Muslims were cheering as the twin towers went down
At a rally in 2015, Trump repeated the discredited claim that, when he was watching the “World Trade Centre come tumbling down, “thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.“ When probed on it further, he said: “There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.”
4. Climate change isn’t real
Perhaps one of his most dangerous positions while the world is currently burning, Trump has often repeated that climate change is a hoax. He’s talked about it a lot – saying it was created “by and for the Chinese” in 2012, and repeating that outlandish claim in 2016 by saying “China does not do anything to help climate change. They burn everything you could burn; they couldn't care less.” He’s also, repeatedly, despite the science to the contrary, claimed that global warming must be a hoax because it still gets really, really cold.
5. Vaccines cause autism
Trump’s consistent rallying against vaccines has drawn him criticism repeatedly as even his own experts disagree with him. Still, he parrots the highly disputed and very dangerous claim that vaccinations are somehow linked to autism. He once tweeted: “Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn't feel good and changes - AUTISM. Many such cases!” with no explanation or follow-up.
6. 3000 people didn’t due after Hurricane Maria
In 2017, Trump suggested that the death toll of Hurricane Maria had been inflated by the Democrats to “make him look bad”. He said: “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000” naturally, this has no basis in truth at all.
7. Voter fraud in the 2016 election
While Trump won the election, he wasn’t happy with not winning the popular vote. After the election, he tweeted “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” He has stood adamantly by this claim, that between 3 and 5 million people had participated in voter fraud, despite evidence to the contrary.
8. Russia didn’t interfere with the election
In a report in 2017, the US intelligence community announced that they had evidence to prove Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Trump openly and repeatedly disagreed with his own officials, saying that “Russia was against Trump in the 2016 election”. While he admitted there may have been some meddling, he instead blamed it on the Chinese government or someone “sitting on their bed weighing 400 pounds.
9. Joe Scarborough killed his intern
Trump loves conspiracy theories around people’s deaths – see Epstein, his theories about foul play in Scalia’s death, and his thoughts on Clinton aide Seth Rich’s murder to name a few. In 2017, he revived the theory that news host Joe Scarborough (then a congressman) murdered his intern Lori Klausutis. He said: “and will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the ‘unsolved mystery’ that took place in Florida years ago? Investigate!” Scarborough isn't a suspect in her death, as a doctor long ago ruled her death was consistent with a fall.