A few days after the attack on Paul Pelosi, Donald Trump is throwing his share through the conspiracy conference about what really happened in the attack.
Trump was asked about the attack during an interview with conservative radio host Chris Stegal on Tuesday. To be clear, what follows from the former president is nonsense and officials have gone to the Register to denounce such conspiracy theories.
“It’s strange things happening in that family in the last two weeks,” Trump said. “You know, probably, it’s better not to talk about it. The glass, it seems, is broken from the inside out, and, as you know, it wasn’t a hack, it was a break.”
Trump went on to say he was “not a fan of Nancy Pelosi,” but what happened was “very sad.” He added, “The whole thing is crazy. I mean, if there’s a bit of truth in what’s being said, it’s crazy. But the window was smashed and it was strange that the cops were standing there practically from the moment it all happened.”
Police reports made it clear that there was, in fact, a break-in. The reason the police were able to get there so quickly is because Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was able to call 911 while the break-in was taking place.
In the days following the attack, several prominent right-wing figures put forward conspiracy theories about the attack – including that Paul Pelosi and the intruder were gay lovers who got into a fight.
This and others have been fully and completely debunked by law enforcement. “There is absolutely no evidence that Mr. Pelosi knew this man,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott told CNN in an interview. “Actually, the evidence points to just the opposite.”
Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s eldest son, also mocked the attack. Trump Jr shared a social media post that showed a picture of a hammer and a pair of underwear with the words “Get ready a Paul Pelosi costume for Halloween.” “The Internet remains undefeated,” Trump Jr. wrote.
All this, unfortunately, is equated with the path of the former president and the movement that he leads. Embracing conspiracy theories lies at the heart of Trumpism.
Remember, Trump once suggested, without evidence, that the father of Texas Senator Ted Cruz might have been involved in the JFK assassination. and that the caucuses in Iowa were stolen from him. And that the 2020 elections were stolen from him. And that the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search may have really been an attempt to recover Hillary Clinton’s email server.
Conspiracy theories have a special appeal to Trump because they speak to the basic appeal he has to his followers: the country’s elites are always up to something outrageous and trying to hide that fact from you. They want to keep you in the dark, but you’re too smart for that, so you see by the stories they tell you.
It’s not clear to me whether Trump actually believes anything he says about the Pelosi attack. As usual with him, he threw in just enough qualifications and vague language to give himself reasonable deniability. (“It’s better if you and I don’t talk about this.”)
But what I know he’s doing is feeding his base. He knows they want to believe the absolute worst about Paul and Nancy Pelosi and so he gives them what they want. By doing so, he does not appear to be engaging in a leadership reversal that bothers Trump even the slightest bit.