Donald Trump Jr.'s paranoid theory: The government is out to get them

Trump is opposed by "people at the highest levels of government," the president's son says

By Matthew Rozsa

Published December 20, 2017 8:54AM (EST)

 (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Donald Trump Jr. told a sympathetic audience in West Palm Beach, Florida that his father, President Donald Trump, is being targeted by individuals "at the highest levels of government."

"There is, and there are, people at the highest levels of government that don't want to let America be America," Trump Jr. said, according to CNN. He was speaking at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit, a gathering of young conservative activists throughout the country.

After denouncing the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller III into alleged collusion between Trump and Russian government officials, Trump Jr. cited the existence of that investigation as proof that the system was out to get his father.

"My father talked about a rigged system throughout the campaign, and people were like, 'Oh, what are you talking about?' But it is. And you're seeing it," Trump Jr. declared.

He then asked the audience to "imagine what would happen if we rolled back the clock to 2008" and it was revealed that President Barack Obama had been actively disliked by members of the FBI who were then investigating him.

"What do you think would happen? Do you think the media would cover that? Yeah. Do you think it would be brushed under the rug like, 'Oh, it's nothing. It doesn't mean anything.' There'd be revolution in the streets. So I'm glad that this is coming out now, because it is good, because real people have to see this," Trump Jr. told his audience.

It's worth saying that Obama was actively disliked throughout his presidency. Though the Republican Party opposed him on political grounds — that an Obama win was their loss — for eight years, the party also enabled a fringe theory to spread rumors that Obama was not born in the United States. That theory was led by Donald Trump, who later became president.

Trump Jr. has been echoing the attitudes of a number of right-wingers as they attempt to discredit Mueller and the FBI for their ongoing investigation into the president. Last week, Tom Fitton, president of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, insisted on Fox News that "the FBI has been compromised. Forget about shutting down Mr. Mueller. Do we need to shut down the FBI because it was turned into a KGB-type operation by the Obama administration?"

One of the main points of contention, cited by both Trump Jr. and Fitton, is that two members of the Mueller probe exchanged private text messages which were harshly critical of Trump. They have used this, as well as the fact that the wife of a Justice Department official was hired by Fusion GPS to investigate Trump (later producing the controversial dossier which speculated he'd been compromised), to argue that the investigation is politically motivated and out to harm the president.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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