U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, Nov. 10, 2016. 
Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Trump’s new conspiracy theory: Blame Obama for public backlash

Donald Trump is clearly aware of the public backlash his presidency has sparked, and he’s eager to explain the opposition away. A few weeks ago, for example, the Republican was convinced that his critics were “professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters.”

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I’m still not sure what the difference is between a professional anarchist and an amateur anarchist.

Last week, Trump switched gears a bit, arguing, “The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!”

This week, the president has moved on to a new explanation: this is all Obama’s fault. USA Today reported this morning:
President Trump said that former president Barack Obama is “behind” the angry protests that have erupted at Republican town halls around the nation during an interview on the Fox News morning program Fox and Friends scheduled to air Tuesday morning.

“I think he is behind it,” Trump said when asked about Obama’s role in the protests. “I also think it’s politics. That’s the way it is.

“No, I think that President Obama is behind it,” Trump said, “because his people are certainly behind it and some of the leaks, possibly come from that group, some of the leaks – which are really very serious leaks because they’re very bad in terms of national security – but I also understand that’s politics. And in terms of him being behind things, that’s politics. And it will probably continue.”
This is, in many ways, the perfect Donald J. Trump Conspiracy Theory.

First, this allows the president, who remains convinced of his broad popularity, to dismiss the legitimacy of his critics, which he’s obviously desperate to do.

Second, Trump, clearly resentful of his popular and successful predecessor, has never come up with an anti-Obama conspiracy theory he didn’t immediately embrace, and this latest tack allows him to believe everything is always Obama’s fault.

And third, by spouting this new conspiracy theory, Trump can continue to argue that he is in no way responsible for his own troubles. It’s all part of the “mess” he likes to pretend he “inherited.”

To the extent that reality still has any relevance, it’s worth appreciating the fact that the former president is not, in fact, pulling the strings and orchestrating an anti-Trump backlash from behind a curtain. There are all kinds of factors helping drive progressive activism, but the idea that Obama is secretly delivering marching orders is pretty silly.

Just as importantly, the idea that officials loyal to Obama are leaking information damaging to Trump is also badly flawed – because many of the leaks reveal developments in Trump’s own West Wing, filled with Trump’s political appointees, who appear eager to dish dirt on Trump’s White House.

Nevertheless, I assume “let’s blame Obama” will become a popular rallying cry in far-right circles, because it’s vastly easier than dealing with the facts.

Barack Obama, Conspiracy Theories and Donald Trump

Trump's new conspiracy theory: Blame Obama for public backlash