On a CNN special report Monday, commentator Fareed Zakaria delved into how President Donald Trump built his political career off conspiracy theories — and how those conspiracy theories have threatened American democracy.
“I’m worried about repeating misinformation,” said Zakaria. “But it’s urgent, the theories circulating now are dangerous and the president of the United States is trafficking in them. When Donald Trump tells us that elections are rigged and ‘Obamagate’ is the biggest scandal in history, some know that the ideas are are wholly false and others are less certain. Especially when they hear a story full of details that seem to explain everything.”
“Donald Trump’s rise to power began with a conspiracy theory,” said Zakaria, posting clips of Trump peddling the “Birther” conspiracy against Barack Obama. “Donald Trump understood how to tap into an ugly racial undercurrent. The idea of whether he was born in the United States, that’s a metaphor, it’s, is he one of us? Answer, no.”
However, noted Zakaria, “there’s been no bigger Trump target than Hillary Clinton. The darkest Clinton conspiracy theory has a huge following on the internet. Trump and his allies have promoted it, even has it has grown increasingly toxic. This is Edgar Maddison Welch. He is driving from his North Carolina home to Washington, D.C., recording a message to his two young daughters. He is preparing to risk his life to save children he doesn’t even know. You may consider him a good man. But this mission of mercy was actually a dangerous delusion. Welch fell prey to a twisted conspiracy theory, called Pizzagate. He believed that Hillary Clinton and other Washington elites were running a pedophile ring out of the basement of a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C.”
Welch was ultimately arrested after menacing the store with an AR-15.
“Now, disturbingly, teenagers have grown obsessed with Pizzagate. They believe celebrities have joined Hillary Clinton to abuse children,” said Zakaria. “The social media site TikTok, popular with teenagers, has logged more than 18 million views for posts with the Pizzagate hashtag … and in the last few years, it has grown into an even bigger conspiracy theory called QAnon. A mysterious character or characters called Q, supposedly high up in U.S. intelligence, give followers hints about deep state co-conspirators who are out to destroy Donald Trump.”
And this has been singled out as a potential terroristic threat by the FBI — even as Trump retweets QAnon memes and major Trump supporters, like former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, take the QAnon “oath.”
“Trump’s conspiracy theories resonate deeply with the voters. That raises the most troubling aspect of the story,” said Zakaria. “Pew Research shows that America’s trust [in government] has been dropping for decades … by the time Donald Trump was elected president, belief and faith in democracy had reached an all-time low. Trust in the media took a similar plunge. And Donald Trump knows it.”
CNN host uses Fox News doctor’s own words against him after he accuses Biden of taking amphetamine
President Donald Trump and his allies seem to realize that they've dug themselves a hole in attacking former Vice President Joe Biden as mentally unfit. With expectations so low, a Biden win in the first debates are almost assured, even with a Fox News host.
In a discussion Tuesday, Trump began to pivot away from his non-stop advertising attacking Biden's cognitive abilities and instead claim Biden is a "professional" who knows what he's doing.
"Maybe that would work if the president himself had not been saying this about Biden on repeat for the entirety of the campaign," said CNN host Brianna Keilar.
America under Trump is now an ‘object of pity’ throughout the world: Ex-White House official
Former Trump National Security Council staffer Fiona Hill told CNN's Jim Sciutto on Tuesday that the United States under President Donald Trump evokes "pity" from people around the world instead of respect.
In talking about Russia's efforts to sow division in the United States ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Hill told Sciutto that America's foreign adversaries don't have to do much to create fear and mistrust in America right now.
"So I have to say very bluntly to everybody who's watching and listening to this, we are increasingly an object of pity, including by our allies," she said. "They're shocked by how we eat ourselves alive with our divisions. We are creating this -- it is not the Russians or the Chinese!"
‘It’s very disrespectful to me — I’m in my 70s!’: Dr Fauci knocks down Trump claims about COVID-19 and the elderly
Dr. Anthony Fauci knocked down President Donald Trump's claims about the coronavirus affecting only older people.
The infectious disease expert apparently took umbrage to the president's assurance to rallygoers Monday in Ohio that only "elderly people with heart problems and other problems" can get sick from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In some states, thousands of people — nobody young," Trump told his supporters. "Below the age of 18, like, nobody. They have a strong immune system, who knows? Take your hat off to the young, because they have a hell of an immune system. But it affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing.”