This article originally appeared on AlterNet.
Donald Trump is a h-u-u-uge fan of conspiracy theories. Only he doesn't call them that. He calls them “what some people are saying,” or what he saw in the National Enquirer (the infamous tabloid which Trump, according to Trump, has always said should’ve won the “Pulitzer surprise [sic]”).
In 2011, the Republican nominee pushed the fringe right-wing notion that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya into the mainstream, effectively becoming the leading voice of the birther movement. In the years since, he has floated certifiably insane ideas about climate change (global warming is a hoax created by and for the Chinese), Syrian refugees (the federal government only sends them to the Republican states) and Ted Cruz (his father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to John F. Kennedy’ assassination).
To understand Trump’s affinity for conspiracies, look no further than one-man professional right-wing conspiracy generator — and fervent Donald Trump supporter — Alex Jones, who reportedly received a “special guest” credential at the Republican National Convention last week even as outlets like Huffington Post and FactCheck.org struggled to get passes.
Now that Jones, who normally would not merit serious media attention, has the Republican nominee's imprimatur, we thought we'd review some of his more ridiculous conspiracies.
1. The Clintons are murderers.
On his June 30 show, Jones had former Secret Service agent Gary Byrne on to promote his (discredited) book about the Clintons. In introducing Byrne, Jones said:
“Mr. Byrne, I hope you don’t have any car accidents or airplane accidents or anything because the Clintons are organized criminals in my view and there’s a lot of death around them. But I’m going to stop right there. Mr. Byrne, thank you so much for coming on. CrisisofCharacterbook.com, let’s go to the waterfront here. Tell us — I mean, you’re putting your life on the line here. I think that goes unsaid.”
Later in the broadcast, Jones suggested he didn’t “want to get into speculation areas here” before speculating that Byrne would do well to prepare for his inevitable murder. “I really hope you’ve got a big insurance policy taken out for your family,” Jones said.
The lunatic theory that the Clintons are murderers dates back to the '90s, after President Bill Clinton’s Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster committed suicide following a years-long battle with depression. Five official investigations into Foster’s death concluded the aide died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, but suggestions that Foster was murdered by the Clintons to cover up the Whitewater scandal persisted through outlets like Jones’s InfoWars.
And that's apparently enough for the current Republican nominee, who in May suggested there was something “fishy” about Foster's death. “[Foster] had intimate knowledge of what was going on,” Trump said of the aide’s relationship with the Clintons. “He knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide.”
In response, Foster’s sister Sheila Foster Anthony wrote an article for The Washington Post calling Trump’s insinuation “irresponsible” and “cruel,” adding the Republican nominee should be ashamed of himself.
Of course, shame is not an emotion Trump is familiar with. And as long as his favorite conspiracy theorist Jones keeps pushing the Clinton-as-murderers narrative, it's likely that Trump will continue to as well.
2. Hillary Clinton is a witch who is responsible for the Dallas shootings.
Following the death of five cops after a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Jones ranted against Clinton, calling her a “witch” and suggesting the current administration views the murderer as a “martyr.”
“But then when this guy does it, he’s a martyr,” Jones said. “And Obama and Loretta Lynch and Hillary and all the usual suspects come out and say ‘better listen up,’ Hillary said that, ‘better listen up white people, better listen up, or you’re gonna get killed.’”
“Better do what the Justice Department says, it speaks for Black Lives Matter,” Jones continued. “Here’s the woman behind it who’s about to be president, if we don’t stop her, saying, you better listen up to what our wound-up lunatics did.”
Never mind that every report so far indicates the killer acted alone and was unaffiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement. Or that Clinton and Obama both condemned the shooting in the strongest of terms, with Clinton delivering an hour-long speech on police and race relations in America and Obama writing an open letter to police promising “we have your backs.” While those facts may quash the paranoid insinuation that Obama and Clinton are praising the murder of police, there’s probably no way to satisfy Jones’s Clinton-as-a-witch theory, so we’ll just chalk that one up to hyperbole.
Trump himself repeatedly claimed he had heard “some people” called for a moment of silence for the gunman — a completely unfounded and vague claim meant to conjure up images of leading government officials praying for the mass murder of police. But yeah, Clinton’s the witch.
3. Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered.
Following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Jones issued an “emergency transmission” on Facebook accusing the Obama administration of murdering the judge.
“You just get used to this, ‘Scalia found, it’s natural, nothing going on here, he just died naturally,’” Jones said. “And you’re like, ‘Whoa. Red flag.’ Then you realize, Obama is one vote away from being able to ban guns, open the borders and actually have the court engage in its agenda and now Scalia dies. I mean, this is hardcore.”
“I wonder if Clarence Thomas will die of a heart attack next week,” Jones continued. “If this is an assassination, it signifies that they’re dropping the hammer, that’s the canary in the coal mine.”
“My gut tells me they killed him and all the intellectual evidence lays it out,” he added.
Jones’ Scalia theory was picked up by Donald Trump, who told fellow conspiracy theorist Michael Savage in a radio interview it is “pretty unusual” Scalia was found with a “pillow on his face.” The ranch owner who found him did originally claim Scalia had a pillow on his face, but later clarified it was “over his head, not over his face.”
“The face was entirely clear,” the ranch owner insisted.
The clarification did little to quell the overactive imaginations of people like Jones and Trump, who get off on touting theories that implicate the Obama administration or the Clintons or any member of the quote-unquote establishment. But hey, everything they say is “just a suggestion,” right?
4. Orlando, Sandy Hook, Boston, Brussels, etc. were "false flags."
Keeping up with Jones means keeping up with an array of accusations about the government planting so-called false flag operations to promote some aspect of its agenda. Following the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Jones insisted the attack was “a false flag terror attack” orchestrated by the Obama administration to restrict our freedoms.
“Our governments are bringing these people in and they’re allowing them to operate in our society, so they can attack us and then have our freedoms taken,”Jones said, apparently not caring that the shooter was born in the United States.
Jones has an array of conspiracies about most major attacks, terror or otherwise. He called the 2012 murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School “synthetic, completely fake, with actors,” said the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing “stinks to high heaven,” and called the 2016 terror attack at an airport in Brussels “the ultimate false flag.”
For Jones, the purpose of each of these “false flag” operations is to drum up support for laws that will restrict our rights — and they almost always have to do with gun control. Of course, if the government is actually behind these attacks it’s doing a pretty shoddy job at gaining the desired outcome, considering no substantive common sense gun reforms bills have been passed in the aftermath of any of these tragedies.
Trump himself also floated conspiracy theories alluding to the government’s complacency in these attacks, though it’s less of a plot to take our guns, and more that President Obama secretly supports acts of terrorism. Following the Orlando shooting, Trump used his signature “some people say” qualifier to suggest President Obama has “got something else in his mind."
“And the something else in mind — you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.”
Suggestions that Obama is part of a vast conspiracy to undermine the United States have been around since the beginning of his administration. That these previously-fringe ideas made their way from an unhinged nut job like Alex Jones to an (equally unhinged) candidate of a major political party should be concerning. But when someone like Trump is given the platform to demand Obama release his birth certificate and suggest he’s a secret Muslim, why would the insinuation that the president is complicit in mass shootings and homegrown terrorism be held to a different standard?
5. The government has a "weather weapon" that "can create and steer groups of tornadoes."
Easily the most insane (and amusing) of Jones’ conspiracy theories is his suggestion that the government has some sort of weather machine that can control the climate. In 2013, after a series of tornadoes in Oklahoma, Jones said, "of course there's weather weapon stuff going on — we had floods in Texas like 15 years ago, killed 30-something people in one night. Turned out it was the Air Force.”
Jones went on to say it’s unclear whether the weapon was used in the Oklahoma tornadoes, but insisted the government "can create and steer groups of tornadoes.”
Trump has yet to weigh in on this particular theory, though we can assume if he believes the Chinese invented global warming, why wouldn’t the U.S. government possess a weather weapon? We’re starting to think that maybe Trump is running for president so he can mine documents on Roswell and prove his hunch about chemtrails.
Of course, the only truth in all of this is that the GOP elected a fringe conspiracy theorist as their candidate — thanks to the party’s ineptitude, we can count on plenty more insane Alex Jones-type theories making their way to mainstream discourse. So buckle up and get ready for Trump’s inevitable “Hillary Clinton had an Alien Baby” ad to hit his Instagram very soon.