In a look into the Twitter career of President Donald Trump's oldest son, observers point out that Trump has deployed Don Jr., his namesake, as his online ambassador to the radical and fringe right that trades in conspiracy theories while being slavishly devoted to the president.
According to Politico, Donald Trump Jr. is "one of his father’s key ambassadors to the fringe, promoting theories that added drama and visceral energy to the grass-roots right."
Speaking with Politico, former Breitbart exec Kurt Bardella said that Don Jr's Twitter account serves the purpose of amplifying extremist rhetoric by way of retweets of Twitter comments that might be too out there, even for the normally untrammeled president.
“Empowering conspiracy theorists and fringe voices with an endorsement from the president of the United States’ son will only amplify the ignorant at the expense of everybody else,” explained Bardella before adding, “A retweet or like is an explicit endorsement by Donald Trump Jr."
According to Politico, Don Jr. recently accused YouTube of covering up for the shooter who assaulted their campus before turning her gun on herself, tweeting out his complaints to his 2.7 million followers.
“You think there’s any chance whatsoever that a mass shooters hateful Instagram and YouTube channels would be pulled immediately if they were NRA members as opposed to liberal Vegan PETA activists?” Trump Jr. tweeted . “Asking for a few million friends in the @NRA”
Trump Jr.’s attack on YouTube was retweeted over 15,000 times and liked by more than 45,000 users, and gained massive coverage in the media -- with rightwing sites glorifying it to promote their own worldview.
Those type of inflammatory tweets often find favor with right-wing trolls who lurk on social media.
According to rightwing conspiracy blogger and self-promoter, Mike Cernovich, Don Jr. is a welcome addition to the fringe drumbeat, describing him as a “transgressive and independent thinker”.
"Don Jr seems to have a lot of fun on Twitter,” Cernovich applauded.
According to University of Miami Professor Joseph Uscinski, co-author of “American Conspiracy Theories,” there is a method to Trump Jr's madness which has an impact on the national narrative "under the guise of just innocently sharing and spreading stories."
"If something happens and they don’t like the narrative, they use a conspiracy theory to change the narrative,” explained Uscinski. “This is what was done with Parkland.”
Added Jared Holt, a researcher for the website Right Wing Watch, Trump Jr.’s online exchanges are important in the way that they feed red meat to President Trump's radical followers.
“Trump Jr.’s interaction with fringe figures from the right-wing social media universe sends a strong message of validation to those communities and gives mainstream oxygen to segments of conservative politics that are largely unmoored from reality,” Holt told Politico
“In a lot of ways, he’s the president’s ambassador to the unhinged underbelly of right-wing politics,” he concluded.
You can read the whole report here.