On Monday morning, Donald Trump continued his long-standing feud with media organizations not named Fox News, the president’s latest attack on how media organizations have covered his administration.
“Believe it or not, even when I’m in Washington or New York, I do not watch much television,” President Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One during his recent trip overseas. “I’m reading documents. A lot.”
Over the weekend, Trump gave Americans a glimpse of the type of documents he’s reading when he shared a link to a right-wing conspiracy theory website’s list of what it views as the president’s accomplishments during his first 10 months in office.
“Wow, even I didn’t realize we did so much,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Wish the Fake News would report! Thank you.”
Wow, even I didn’t realize we did so much. Wish the Fake News would report! Thank you. https://t.co/ApVbu2b0Jd
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2017
MagaPill.com on Monday was promoting an “accomplishment list” of stories that portrayed the Trump administration in a positive light. Many of the news stories linked in the post were written by the very media companies Trump has criticized during his time in office.
But a glance at MagaPill’s social media accounts and archived stories unearths a trove of conspiracy theories that lingered in the darkest fringes of right-wing media circles.
For instance, just hours after Trump promoted the website to his 43.5 million Twitter followers, MagaPill shared a video from Liz Crokin, a right-wing figure best known for pushing the phony “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which falsely claimed former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was running a child-sex ring out of a pizza parlor.
— MAGA PILL 🏵️ (@MAGAPILL) November 25, 2017
The site has also promoted a “white rabbit” conspiracy theory, often identified with the hashtag #Qanon, a reference to what followers say is an insider in Trump’s team with “Q-level” security clearance — a high-level clearance at the Department of Energy — who supposedly has knowledge of a satanic pedophile cult involving top government, entertainment and business leaders that the president is trying to bring to justice.
MagaPill.com, whose owner is anonymous, has also heavily promoted a debunked conspiracy involving murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich. Conservatives like Fox News host Sean Hannity allege Rich may have be killed for releasing DNC emails to Wikileaks, which would seemingly disprove intelligence assessments that Russia hacked the emails. Rich’s parents have repeatedly stated police officers told them the murder appeared to be a botched robbery attempt in which the assailants panicked, immediately ran and abandoned their son’s personal belongings
Donna Brazile said she was afraid when Seth Rich was murdered
Seth was leaking DNC files to @WikiLeaks WHILE Hillary was rigging the Primary vs Bernie
They both knew what was going on only Seth was murdered for blowing the whistle on it instead of writing a book after the fact pic.twitter.com/KNKJeTqaue
— MAGA PILL 🏵️ (@MAGAPILL) November 11, 2017
The website’s name is a reference to “red pill,” a term pulled from the movie The Matrix that’s used by white nationalists and members of the alt-right to promote the conversion of people to their movement.
“To white supremacists, it means acknowledging that Jewish elites control the culture and are accelerating the destruction of the white race,” wrote Alice Marwick and Becca Lewis, who study the alt-right at the Data & Society Research Institute. “Red-pilling is the far-right equivalent of consciousness-raising or, in today’s lingo, becoming ‘woke.’ ”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Dabbling in conspiracy theories is nothing new for Trump, who once championed the idea that President Obama’s birth certificate was fake. Trump has flirted with the conspiracy theory that former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered, suggested “a heavy Arab population” in New Jersey celebrated after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 and has pushed the false theory that vaccines can cause autism.
Trump has also suggested the government knew about the 9/11 attacks ahead of time, but chose to do nothing, earning strong rebukes at the time from Republicans.
“He’s wrong, and I think he’s deliberately promoting those views in order to advance his political interests,” said former Vice President Dick Cheney. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) called those views something “that only comes from the kook part of America.”
Last month, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) took a not-so-veiled swipe at Trump’s promotion of baseless stories during a speech at United States Naval Academy.
“We have to fight against propaganda and crackpot conspiracy theories,” McCain said. “We have to fight isolationism, protectionism and nativism. We have to defeat those who would worsen our divisions,”