The First Family loves conspiracy theories, but the Trump clan may have just cooked up its most ludicrous claim yet.
Eric Trump, the middle child of Birther-in-Chief Donald Trump, tweeted on Tuesday that talk show host Ellen Degeneres is a co-conspirator in a United States shadow government. He posted a screenshot of Degeneres after the lesbian media maven appeared on a list of suggested Twitter users to follow. She was listed alongside Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
His alarm bells immediately went off.
The self-proclaimed businessman has previously called out what he believes is liberal bias in Twitter’s algorithms. On Dec. 29, Trump took the microblogging platform to task for suggesting he follow Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-Ill.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. All have been critical of his father’s presidency.
Suggesting his Twitter account is being targeted by shady left-wing algorithms should have been enough, but Trump’s mention of the “deep state” particularly raised the collective eyebrows of social media.
That term refers to a conspiracy theory first peddled by alt-right fake news sites like InfoWars and Breitbart, which was subsequently embraced by President Trump himself. These websites allege there exists a network of influential officials within the government seeking to delegitimize the current administration, known as the “deep state.”
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a right-wing extremist, famously told the New York Times in a March 2017 interview that President Obama is a central figure in the operation. He advised the Commander-in-Chief to “purge the leftists within the administration that are holdovers from the Obama administration, because it appears that they are undermining his administration and his chances of success.”
While once considered a fringe theory, the extremely unfounded idea of a “deep state” has also been peddled by Republicans like former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Kelly.
“Of course, the deep state exists,” he told the Associated Press last year.
Statistics show a surprising number of Americans agree with Gingrich: 48 percent of respondents in a 2017 survey released by The Washington Post and ABC News claimed to believe in the existence of a secret organization inside the government.
But even if Degeneres happened to be part of a nonexistent government conspiracy, no one in the Trump family would have the chance to ask her about it.
The biggest name in daytime TV has banned the president from her talk show.
“I’m not going to change his mind,” DeGeneres said in a May 2017 broadcast. “He’s against everything that I stand for. We need to look at someone else who looks different than us and believes in something that we don’t believe in and still accept them and still let them have their rights.”