The press and media may see the problem with Trump doing this and this piece is not written to them. It is written to the conservatives who may roll their eyes at Trump, but not really care that he did it because it was going after Barack Obama.
Members of the press, I’m sure, will read the title and think it is obvious. But for a significant portion of Americans it is not obvious. Inside the bubble and group think of the press, the biases lean decidedly to the left. But inside the private conversations of many Americans in the heartland, they think the President attacks his political opponents in starkly harsher tones than he does ISIS.
You may think that the President is dropping bombs on ISIS and not Republicans so he clearly hates ISIS more, but then you are not around the kitchen tables and in the diners of small towns around the country. There they see the President waging war on Christendom, their jobs in coal mines and power plants, and refusing to say “radical Islam” while calling the GOP “hostage takers” and “the enemy,” then waiting until his last State of the Union to lament the tone he helped set.
Only a minority of Americans really believe the President is a closet sleeper-cell muslim who privately supports ISIS, but those people exist in larger numbers than the press corps and left would care to imagine. They may be wrong in their beliefs, but so much of what President Obama does reinforces their belief.
And now Donald Trump has gone there.
I actually gave Trump the benefit of the doubt the other day. I know, I know, I should not have done that. When the Washington Post accused him of this belief, Trump had not actually said so directly. But later he tweeted out an article making the case that Obama loves ISIS and attacking the press for questioning him.
Here’s the problem with Trump doing this. A majority of Americans not only think it is crazy talk, 51% of Americans voted for Barack Obama in 2012, well after this rumor was burning across the fringes of right-of-center websites and fringy late night radio shows. So Donald Trump going there essentially means Donald Trump believes a majority of Americans voted for a terrorist in 2012. It’s one thing for Donald Trump to attack Barack Obama. But this particular attack calls into the question the judgment of the American voters themselves.
Trump has already gone full conspiracist on 9/11 and what George Bush knew. Now he goes there. And this is another in a long line of conspiracies.
Trump is no stranger to pushing conspiracy theories. He practically gave birth to the “birther” movement, which aimed to prove President Obama was not a U.S.-born citizen. That saga ended in dramatic fashion after the president produced his birth certificate to the public. Trump also has a history questioning Obama’s Christian faith, once claiming that this birth certificate may list him a Muslim.
Trump also claims, despite any evidence, that “thousands and thousands” of Muslims were cheering from rooftops in New Jersey as the World Trade towers fell on 9/11. He suggested that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia may have been murdered. He said that Sen. Ted Cruz’s father might have been implicated in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
He has said repeatedly that Obama didn’t have the grades to get into the Ivy league schools, suggesting he might not have attended Columbia and Harvard.
Trump has often expressed his belief that autism is caused by childhood vaccinations, a discredited claim opposed by public health officials. And he recently alleged that Hillary Clinton was involved in the death of Vince Foster, a former White House aide who committed suicide in 1993.
Donald Trump is running for President of the United States, not president of a rotary club and not biggest mouth at the local Waffle House. He wants to be President of the United States. He cannot do that by accusing the current office holder of being a terrorist sympathizer, whether or not he is, without solid evidence because the accusation means Donald Trump believes 51% of Americans themselves voted for a terrorist sympathizer. Some crazy talk is best left unsaid.
Americans may question the judgment of the President, but they aren’t going to question themselves.