Trump's conspiracy theorizing reaches unsettling new depths

As Election Day nears, Trump is peddling wild-eyed conspiracy theories with increasing frequency.
Image: Donald Trump, US-VOTE-TRUMP
President Donald Trump holds a Make America Great Again rally as he campaigns at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, PA., on Oct. 13, 2020.Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images

To know anything about Donald Trump is to recognize his preoccupation with conspiracy theories. In fact, the Republican relied on a racist conspiracy theory as part of his rise to political prominence, and without it, he likely wouldn't be president today.

None of his conspiracy theories have ever been proven right, but he can't seem to help himself.

Even those who've come to expect Trump to embrace some strange conspiracies, however, probably didn't see some of his latest doozies coming.

To be sure, many of the president's recent conspiracy theories have gone largely overlooked because they've become so common. He recently suggested the FDA is conspiring against him on a coronavirus vaccine, for example, and it didn't cause much of a stir. The political world was similarly unmoved when Trump suggested Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dying wish may have also been the result of a Democratic conspiracy.

Yesterday, however, as a Washington Post report noted, the president went quite a bit further.

One retweet alleged that Biden and former president Barack Obama “may have had Seal Team 6 killed” and that a “CIA Whistleblower Exposes Biden’s Alleged Role with the Deaths of Seal Team- Claims to have Documented Proof.” Another suggested that the CIA kept bin Laden in Iran, before having him transferred to Pakistan for Obama’s “trophy kill” ahead of the 2012 election.

As one might expect, the theory is quite convoluted, utterly ridiculous, and not worth pondering in any real detail.

Indeed, it led George Conway to write, "Gosh, the president should be careful what he retweets because people might get the impression he is possibly deranged."

But as Election Day draws closer, the problem is not just that Trump is embracing conspiracy theories; it's that he's peddling wild-eyed nonsensical conspiracy theories with increasing frequency. Last month his focus was on Joe Biden being controlled by people hiding in "dark shadows" and a secret plane full of anarchists intent on disrupting the Republican National Convention. This month, the president thinks the FDA is out to get him, "Biden and Obama may have had Seal Team 6 killed," and "Obamagate" is real.

If someone in your personal life started talking this way, you'd probably worry about their well-being. Donald Trump, meanwhile, is the chief executive of a global superpower.

Election Day is 20 days away. I shudder to think how much worse this can get.

Update: This post has been updated with an expanded excerpt.