We're going to keep updating this list until Trump stops endorsing conspiracy theories

November 30, 2017, 1:33pm

President Trump reportedly hasn’t given up questioning whether Barack Obama was really born in the United States. On Wednesday, Trump returned to another more obscure, and equally false, conspiracy theory, that MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough had something to do with the sudden death of an intern in 2001. “Advisers say [Trump] continues to privately harbor a handful of conspiracy theories that have no grounding in fact,” the New York Times reported Tuesday.


The willingness of Trump to repeat falsehoods to advance an agenda was a characteristic of his campaign, and it remains part of his governing style as president. We’ve compiled this list of the conspiracy theories Trump has endorsed or speculated about before or since taking office, including theories pushed by Infowars’ Alex Jones. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it gives a sense of Trump’s perception of reality. We’ll keep it updated with new information:

Joe Scarborough’s “unsolved mystery”
When Trump said it: On Nov. 29, 2017, for no apparent reason other than vengefulness, Trump started tweeting about Lori Klausutis, an intern in then-Rep. Joe Scarborough’s office who, according to medical examiners, died after falling and hitting her head in the office.
What Trump said:

The Deep State is working against him
When Trump said it: Earlier in November, apparently apropos of nothing except, perhaps, a CNN story followed by a late-night phone call from Steve Bannon, Trump started tweeting about a Deep State conspiracy against him.
What Trump said:

Obama wiretapped the Oval Office
When Trump said it: In a series of early-morning tweets on March 4, Trump claimed that Obama had tapped his phones during the 2016 presidential campaign. During his testimony before Congress in March 2017, former FBI Director James Comey assured legislators that neither the FBI nor the Department of Justice had wiretapped Trump. “With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets,” Comey said. “And we have looked carefully inside the FBI. The Department of Justice has asked me to assure you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components.”
What Trump said:

It’s not his voice on the “Access Hollywood” tape
When Trump said it: January 2017, per the New York Times. In October 2016, the Washington Post published audio of Trump bragging that he could grab women “by the pussy” because he was famous. At the time, Trump admitted it was him, explained it away as “locker room talk,” and apologized. He reportedly changed his mind shortly before his inauguration, telling one senator that he didn’t think it was his voice and that he wanted the tape investigated.
What Trump said: “We don’t think that was my voice,” according to the New York Times. “He’s made his position on that clear at that time, as have the American people in his support of him,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The mainstream media makes up sources
When Trump said it: Ah, fake news: It’s Trump’s go-to insult for the mainstream media. His first use of fake news in a tweet was on Dec. 10, 2016, but the president’s attacks on the media grew more specific over time. Around the time it was revealed that son Donald Jr. had agreed to meet with a Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, Trump accused the media of simply making up sources to denigrate him.
What Trump said:

Winning districts he didn’t win and winning women’s vote
When Trump said it: Trump has reportedly spent the first year of his presidency lying about which districts he won and by what percentage.
What Trump said: One unnamed Republican lawmaker told the New York Times in November 2017 that Trump has repeatedly claimed to have won districts in the 2016 election that he didn’t win, and claims to have earned 52 percent of the women’s vote. According to exit polls, 42 percent of women voted for him.

Lost popular vote due to widespread voter fraud
When Trump said it: Trump won the Electoral College, but he doesn’t appear content to take the victory. Since the November 2016 election, the president has repeatedly asserted he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton due to widespread voter fraud — a lie he still embraces to this day. He even established a commission to look into the election, though no results were ever released.
What Trump said: “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.” The president also reportedly told lawmakers that 3 million to 5 million illegal votes were cast during the election. (Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.8 million.) There have been four verified cases of voter fraud, according to the Washington Post.


Hillary Clinton took performance-enhancing drugs prior to the debates
When Trump said it: October 15, 2016. Trump’s suggestion that his Democratic opponent Clinton was using drugs to enhance her performance at the presidential debates came a few weeks after Alex Jones predicted that Clinton would show up “whacked out” to debate Trump.
What Trump said: “I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate. I do.”

Hillary Clinton rigged the primary and general election
When Trump said it: Trump now claims he always knew he was going to win the general election, but once upon a time he repeatedly claimed that Hillary Clinton had rigged the election against him. On July 30, 2016, Alex Jones publicly warned Trump to make this a “central issue” of his campaign because Clinton had “openly stolen” the Democratic primary from Bernie Sanders. Trump seemed to parrot these conspiracy theories on Aug. 1 at a campaign rally. Even on Election Day, Trump was pushing conspiracy theories about malfunctioning voting machines. Despite allegedly rigging the election, Clinton lost, if you haven’t heard.
What Trump said: ““Looks to me like a rigged election,” Trump said at a rally in New Hampshire. “The election is being rigged by the liberal media to push outright lies to rig the election.” And later:

California droughts caused by environmentalists trying to protect a three-inch fish
When Trump said it: May 27, 2016. Trump took this one straight from his favorite source for nonsense: Infowars. At a campaign rally, Trump echoed a 2015 article that claimed droughts in California were happening because environmentalists wanted to make sure a three-inch fish had enough water to swim.
What Trump said: In California, where they have farms up here, and they don’t get water. I said: ‘Oh, that’s too bad. Is it a drought?’ ‘No, we have plenty of water.’ I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ ‘Well, we shove it out to sea.’ And I said, ‘Why?’ And nobody even knows why. And the environmentalists don’t know why. No, they’re trying to protect a certain kind of three-inch fish.”

Ted Cruz’s father linked to JFK assassination
When Trump said it: May 3, 2016. Trump plucked this one from a National Enquirer cover story that claimed to show a picture of Ted Cruz’s father with Lee Harvey Oswald, who murdered John F. Kennedy.
What Trump said: “His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being, you know, shot. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right? Prior to his being shot.” “All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast. Now, Ted never denied that it was his father. Instead he said, ‘Donald Trump.’ I had nothing to do with it. This was a magazine that frankly, in many respects, should be very respected.” The Enquirer’s owner is a longtime personal friend of Trump.


Steak tastes better well-done and with ketchup on it
When Trump said it: Trump’s personal butler, Anthony Senecal, explained in a New York Times interview that the president likes his meat cooked past the point of well-done. The self-proclaimed billionaire also reportedly prefers to douse the grey dismay in ketchup.
What Trump said: “It would rock on the plate, it was so well-done,” Senecal said of Trump’s meat.

Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered
When Trump said it: Though Scalia reportedly suffered several chronic conditions and officially died of a heart attack, Trump saw something more sinister: a sloppy murder. Citing news reports that Scalia died with a pillow over his head, Trump suggested the Supreme Court justice had been murdered during a February 2016 appearance on the Michael Savage radio show.
What Trump said: “I’m hearing it’s a big topic, that’s the question. And it’s a horrible topic, but they say they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow,” Trump said. “I can’t give you an answer. You know usually I like to give you answers, but I literally just heard it a little while ago.”

People in New Jersey were cheering during the 9/11 attack
When Trump said it: In November 2015, at a rally in Alabama, then-candidate Trump declared he had seen thousands of Muslims standing on rooftops cheering on 9/11. He doubled — and then tripled — down on the apparent lie, telling both ABC’s “This Week” and NBC’s “Meet the Press” that it was broadcast on television and that many other people said it too. No evidence has ever emerged to support his contention.
What Trump said: “Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down, and I watched, in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down! Thousands of people were cheering!” “It did happen. I saw it. It was on television, I saw it. George, it did happen. There were people who were cheering on the other side of New Jersey where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it.” “I saw it. So many people saw it. And, so, why would I take it back? I’m not going to take it back.”


U.S. government knew about the 9/11 attacks ahead of time, CIA warned George W. Bush
When Trump said it: In October 2015, Trump took a stab at then-Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush on CNN’s “New Day” by accusing the government of knowing the 9/11 attacks were coming.
What Trump said: “His brother,” Trump said, referring to Jeb’s brother, former President George W. Bush, “could have made a mistake with the actual hit. They did know it was coming. George Tenet, the head of the CIA, told them it was coming. So they did have advanced notice.”

Obama planned to sign an executive order taking everyone’s guns away
When Trump said it: October 19, 2015. Trump said he read about this theory “in the papers,” though no major newspapers reported on it. It’s an oft-repeated fear from right-wing pundits, and one Trump could have, once again, lifted from Alex Jones.
What Trump said: “The president is thinking about signing an executive order where he wants to take your guns away. You hear this one?”

There are Islamist training camps on American soil
When Trump said it: During a town hall event in September 2015, a supporter got up and said “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims.” The guy went on: “We have training camps, growing, where they want to kill us. That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?”
What Trump said: Trump responded: “We’re going to be looking at that and a lot of other things.”


Vaccines cause autism
When Trump said it: Trump has made this assertion multiple times dating back years. He tweeted about the conspiracy theory multiple times in 2014, and during a September 2015 GOP debate broadcast on CNN, Trump said vaccines were causing the autism “epidemic.”
What Trump said:

Obama wears a ring with Arabic inscription on it
When Trump said it: October 11, 2012. Again, this is a conspiracy theory Trump may have lifted from Alex Jones. On the same day that Jones talked about it on his show, Trump shared a link to a dubious website called “World Net Daily” about the ring. The website also posts articles about topics like Barbie dolls’ “LGBT agenda” and an “Islamic invasion” leading to “open season” on police.
What Trump said:

Obama’s real name is Barry Soetoro
When Trump said it: As early as April 2011. Trump often parrots conspiracy theories that seem to originate from Alex Jones’ InfoWars, a web show that often spouts completely baseless information.
What Trump said: “His name was Barry Soetoro, and that was his name. And he changed his name to Barack Hussein Obama.”

Obama was not born in the U.S.
When Trump said it: Repeatedly and often, since at least 2011. This is perhaps Trump’s favorite (completely false) conspiracy theory — one he frequently drew attention to during Barack Obama’s presidency, and one he eventually disavowed. Though he reportedly still believes it.
What Trump said: “He should show his birth certificate. Another thing: If you go back to my first grade, my kindergarten, people remember me. Nobody from those early years remembers him.”
“His grandmother, in Kenya, said he was born in Kenya, and she was there and witnessed the birth. OK? He doesn’t have a birth certificate.”