Trump From big business to America First, Donald J. Trump is known for many things. Only time will tell whether his lasting legacy is a wall or a crater, but in terms of people alive today, everybody knows what Trump is all about. Of course, one of his most-notable attributes is his love of conspiracy theories. While you may already be familiar with the likes of birtherism and Rafael Cruz assassinating JFK, Trump has promoted many conspiracies over the years, so we’re going to look at some of those that have faded from public memory.
1. Fox Sheikh
Trump has had a bit of a will-they/won’t-they relationship with Saudi Arabia, criticizing the nation before his election, and increasing ties with it afterward. His relationship with Megyn Kelly is less ambiguous and, although they did officially make peace, most people will remember them as sworn enemies.
Perhaps that is why Megyn appeared in a conspiracy tweeted by Trump in January 2016. The grainy photo shows Megyn Kelly alongside a woman in a niqab and a man in a keffiyeh. The accompanying text claims that this is Prince Al-Waleed of Saudi Arabia with his sister and that the Prince is a co-owner of Fox News. It is true that the prince owned a 5.5% stake in the parent company of Fox News (he sold it in 2017), but the image is a blatant fake that would probably earn a “More effort required” from your Photoshop teacher.
2. Access Denied
For a man with as many controversies as Donald Trump, it can be hard to keep track of them all. Few will remember when he was fined $2 million for using charitable funds to further his campaign, or that he doubled Mar-a-Lago fees after becoming President. But few will ever forget the infamous Access tape, noted as one of the few times Trump has actually apologized for something. Except, apparently, Donald Trump himself.
Despite almost instantly owning up to and apologizing for what he said on the tape, twice in one day, Trump would later go on to question its authenticity. According to the New York Times, Trump started expressing doubts that the voice heard on the tape is in fact his, less than a year after admitting it was. He first made these claims to a Senator, before repeating them to an adviser a few months later. However, about a year after the denial story broke, Trump reversed his opinion again, claiming that the comments were said “in a trailer, secretly”, and that the tape was illegally released.
3. Mourning Joe
Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are another example of Trump’s willingness to chop and change his relationships. Then-candidate Trump had spoken on Morning Joe countless times during the 2016 campaign, until he had a sudden falling out with the couple a few months before the election. After his victory, insults continued to fly, eventually driving Joe out of the Republican party altogether.
But it wasn’t until late 2017 that Trump really took aim at Scarborough, tweeting “And will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the “unsolved mystery” that took place in Florida years ago? Investigate!”.
Trump was referring to an incident that took place in 2001, when Scarborough was working as a Republican congressman. On July 19, 28 year-old intern Lori Klausutis was found dead behind her desk at Scarborough’s Florida office by two visitors. An autopsy confirmed that Lori passed after an underlying, undiagnosed health condition caused her to lose consciousness, fracturing her skull against the desk as she fell. Despite the relatively straightforward nature of her passing, and a complete lack of suspicious circumstances, that hasn’t stopped Trump or his supporters from using her death as a weapon against his critics.
4. Hurricane Maria Death Toll
In September 2017, Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane, hit Dominica, St Croix, and Puerto Rico. Reaching speeds of up to 175mph, Maria was the worst natural disaster in recorded history to hit the islands, with the total number of fatalities estimated to be 3,057.
Initially, the Government of Puerto Rico claimed that only 64 people had died as a result of the hurricane, a figure that was quickly disputed. An investigation by the New York Times found that over 1,000 people died as a result of the storm. After a court case forced the government to reveal its statistical data, the number was estimated to be around 1,427, until a final study by George Washington University placed it at 2,975, which is now the official death toll for Puerto Rico.
Trump took the time to express his doubts about the official figures, noting that when he left “they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths” and claiming “Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000…..This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible”.
The reason that later reports arrived at much higher numbers is not only because their methodology was more accurate, but also because they counted those who died after the hurricane as a result of related issues, such as infection, lack of clean water, and poor healthcare provision. While Trump may have been right (or not far off) about the original estimate being much lower, he never provided any evidence that the subsequent figures are fake, while there is plenty to prove they are real.
5. Hot Air Windmills
Throughout his campaign and presidency, Trump has been a major proponent of the coal industry. Before his victory, he promised to save the industry and “bring back coal”, promises he has followed up on by rolling back a number of Obama-era policies since he took the Oval Office. While Trump’s tactics haven’t really affected coal use, he’s still trying everything he can to convince people to switch from renewable energy back to fossil fuels, including making some pretty outlandish claims about windmills.
While speaking at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s spring dinner, President Trump first claimed that having windmills built near your house could devalue your property by as much as 75%. That’s a pretty dramatic claim by itself, although numerous studies have found “no statistical evidence” of this. But that claim is usually overshadowed by the one that followed seconds later, when Trump said “And they say the noise causes cancer, you tell me that one, okay?”. Needless to say, that claim was simply made up. Nobody ever thought that windmills cause cancer, research shows they don’t, and nobody thinks they might. That’s about it. -*