U.S. President Barack Obama speaks while meeting with President-elect Donald Trump following a meeting in the Oval Office Nov. 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. 
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty

Team Trump peddles odd Obama-Russia message to its 2020 donors


Donald Trump’s preoccupation with Barack Obama has been a little creepy lately. In fact, the Republican tweeted about his presidential predecessor a couple of times again this morning.

But to really drive the point home, consider TPM’s report on the Trump campaign’s latest pitch to its donors – in the form of an “Official Obama-Russia Accountability” survey.

The “survey” – really just a mechanism for gathering voters’ contact information – promises that the President will “personally review” the responses of those who provide their answers (plus their names, emails and cell numbers).

But the framing is pretty rich. “Obama worked with Russia?” the email subject line reads.

In the Trump campaign’s telling, the “Waste of Money Mueller Report” proved that “Cheatin’ Obama” intentionally declined to prevent Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential contest.

One of the “survey” questions read, “Do you believe Obama doing nothing gave Russians the green light to interfere in the 2016 Election?”

So let me get this straight. Russia attacked the U.S. elections, as part of a military intelligence operation intended to put Donald Trump in power. Obama, the Trump campaign wants its supporters to believe, may have given Moscow “the green light” to intervene in our elections, and the Democratic president may have even “worked with” Russia.

Or put another way, in this twisted little narrative, despite allegations that the 2016 Trump campaign may have conspired with Russia, the 2020 Trump campaign would like people to believe Obama may have conspired with Russia … apparently to help Trump.

Why would the Democratic president give the Kremlin “the green light” ‘to help the Republican campaign? I haven’t the foggiest idea, though the Trump campaign’s mailing suggested the conspiracy theory may have involved the Iran nuclear deal in some way.

All of this is bewildering, of course, and in no way rooted in reality. But when political observers pause to wonder why Trump’s followers believe some very odd things, it’s worth keeping items like these in mind.

They’re often confused because their president’s political operation encourages them to believe strange and nonsensical ideas.