Rumor has it that presidential hopeful Donald Trump is really into conspiracy theories. Like, a lot of different conspiracy theories. Unlike most presidential candidates who try to keep some breathing room between themselves and the lunatic fringe, Donald Trump seems to embrace conspiracies with the same gusto and zeal that he uses when he defends his own personal opinions, reports Think Progress. Check out this list of the conspiracy theories that Donald Trump, a man within striking distance of the White House, publicly claims to hold true.
Asbestos is Safe
According to scientific research, asbestos and humans don’t mix well. Billions of dollars have been paid out to victims of asbestos exposure in the U.S. alone; the substance is now known to cause cancer, and is responsible for the deaths of 12,000 or more people annually. These facts seem to have no bearing on Donald Trump’s views on the carcinogen, however, and according to the presumptive GOP nominee, asbestos is safe and a great fire retardant. He believes that the general consensus that asbestos is deadly is a conspiracy theory perpetuated by the mob, calling it a “great con.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2012
“Thousands and Thousands” of Muslims Celebrated 9/11 in New Jersey
One of the conspiracy theories that Donald Trump repeatedly perpetuates is that thousand of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the downing of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Not only has Trump repeatedly claimed that it happened, he’s sworn that he watched it happen on TV.
The conspiracy theory widely circulated after the 9/11 attacks, but there is no evidence of any kind that it ever happened and it has been debunked over and over by journalists and private citizens alike.
The Autism/Vaccine Link
The conspiracy theory linking vaccines to autism is one of the most widely-believed of our time. It’s led to tens of thousands of parents refusing to vaccinate their children, and as a result many “eradicated” childhood illnesses making a comeback in the United States. Donald Trump is a huge believer in the link between vaccines and autism, as evidenced by his repeated commentary on the topic. Like many of Trump’s beliefs, this one is often spouted on social media.
.@realDonaldTrump if you were president we'd feed plants Gatorade instead of water.
— Adam Mordecai (@advodude) March 27, 2014
California is NOT Facing A Historic Drought
While speaking at a rally in Fresno, Donald Trump told a captive audience that “there is no drought” in California. Rather, the former-reality TV star believes the conspiracy theory that California’s water is plentiful, but that it’s being “held hostage” by environmentalists.
In the real world, nearly 95 percent of California is dealing with a severe drought, and overall the state is drier than it has been in five centuries.
Climate Change Doesn’t Exist, It’s A Hoax Perpetuated By The Chinese
Speaking of drought-related conspiracy theories, Donald Trump doesn’t believe in climate change. Not only does he not think it’s real, he thinks the rumors of global warming were started by China.
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
As Skeptical Science reports, 97 percent of scientists disagree with Donald Trump’s climate change conspiracy theory. Indeed, scientists overwhelmingly believe that climate change is not only real, it’s being accelerated by human behaviors. Of course, how can science possibly argue with Donald Trump? After all, he does own some golf courses.
Obama is a Kenyan
Donald Trump is one of the biggest Obama “birthers” around. He spent a lot of time in 2011 and 2012 fueling conspiracies that President Obama was born in Kenya and therefore ineligible for the presidency. While Trump’s Obama birther rhetoric has slowed significantly during his presidential run, when directly asked if he believes Obama was born in Hawaii, The Donald still says he’s “not sure.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2012
For the record, Obama was born in Hawaii and claims to the contrary have been repeatedly proven to be incorrect. To be fair, Donald Trump called into question Ted Cruz’s eligibility for the U.S. presidency based on the country of his birth, too. Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and is legally considered a “natural born” American citizen, but Donald didn’t hesitate to dredge the matter up when Cruz was still competing for the GOP nomination
Obama is a Muslim
Speaking of conspiracy theories about Obama, Donald Trump has repeatedly called into question the sitting president’s faith. Obama is a practicing Christian, but according to The Donald, he’s really a “secret Muslim.” Trump says this is part of the reason that Obama is “hiding his real birth certificate,” because he doesn’t want his Muslim-ness to be outed. Donald Trump also apparently gets his information from Madonna, citing out something she said at a concert to substantiate his claims that Obama isn’t as Christian as he pretends to be.
— Jed Schaible, VMD (@JedSchaibleVMD) September 27, 2012
According to all accounts, Madonna’s concert statement was dripping with sarcasm. I guess Donald Trump didn’t get the memo, and he’s not the only one. According to a recent poll, two thirds of potential Trump voters buy into the “Muslim Obama” conspiracy theory.
Obama Lied About his Educational History
Donald Trump has devoted a lot of his time to Obama-related conspiracy theories. Another theory that he’s perpetuated involving the current POTUS is that Obama never went to Columbia University. According to Trump, many of the people who attended Columbia at the same time as a young Obama don’t remember him going there.
“The people that went to school with him, they never saw him, they don’t know who he is. It’s crazy.”
Cool story, Trump. The only problem with it is that many of Obama’s classmates have come forward talking about the time they spent studying with Obama at the school.
Antonin Scalia was Murdered
As far as conspiracy theories go, this one is pretty recent. Following the sudden death of Justice Scalia in February, conspiracy theories surrounding his cause of death began to circulate right away. Most of them perpetuated by right-wingers petrified of an Obama-appointed liberal Supreme Court Justice taking his place
Not surprisingly, Donald Trump jumped right on the bandwagon.
The totally unexpected loss of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a massive setback for the Conservative movement and our COUNTRY!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2016
Then, in an interview with super-conservative radio host Michael Savage, Donald Trump came right out and publicly speculated that Scalia had been murdered.
“I’m hearing it’s a big topic, that’s the question. And it’s a horrible topic, but they say they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow.”
Unfortunately for Trump and other conspiracy buffs, law enforcement who responded to Scalia’s death scene said that there were “no signs of foul play.” According to the official record, Antonin Scalia died of natural causes.
Ted Cruz’s Dad Conspired to Murder JFK
In the early days of 2016, when the Republican primaries were getting down and dirty, Donald Trump jumped on a conspiracy theory wrapped in a conspiracy theory. He accused then-rival Ted Cruz’s dad of conspiring with Lee Harvey Oswald in the JFK assassination plot. Unfortunately, Donald Trump was basing his accusations on a National Enquirer story.
— National Enquirer (@NatEnquirer) April 20, 2016
In the story, the Enquirer says they have a photo of Ted Cruz’s dad standing with Oswald.
— Duchess #DelCon (@WhosFibbing) April 22, 2016
Trump got right in on the Enquirer’s conspiracy theory in an interview with Fox News.
“His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being — you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up.”
There is no proof that the man in the photo is even Ted Cruz’s father.
Vince Foster Was Murdered by the Clintons
Vince Foster was a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton who committed suicide back in 1993. The conspiracy theory goes like this: he didn’t kill himself, one or both of the Clintons had him murdered for knowing too much.
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) May 27, 2016
Unfortunately for Donald Trump, the long-running conspiracy theory has no basis in fact and was even debunked by Clinton-hating Ken Starr after an investigation.
During this election cycle, Trump has demonstrated that he’ll say pretty much anything to get attention, free media publicity, and possibly people’s votes. However, when it comes to promoting conspiracy theories, he’s treading on dangerous, controversial ground. He even appeared on Alex Jones’ radio show, touting the controversial Jones.
“Your reputation is amazing. I won’t let you down.”
Jones, who Donald Trump said has an “amazing” reputation, is known for calling tragedies like Sandy Hook and 9/11 “false flags,” and he’s made his fame and fortune promoting conspiracy theories.
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]