WASHINGTON — Conspiracy-peddler-in-chief — Donald Trump might claim that title, if he doesn't get the presidency. He's used his public platform to elevate apocryphal stories into national debate topics.
He did it again Tuesday. Trump has used a similar modus operandi in most cases: take an outlandish story that's popped up somewhere, raise it publicly and say you can't confirm whether it's true.
—Suggesting Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia might have been murdered:
"It's a horrible topic. But they say they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow." — To a radio host earlier this year
—Suggesting President Barack Obama is secretly a foreigner or a Muslim:
"He doesn't have a birth certificate. He may have one, but there's something on that, maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim... I don't know. Maybe he doesn't want that." — To Fox News in 2011
—Falsely claiming he saw thousands of Muslims on TV in New Jersey celebrating the 9-11 attacks:
"Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering. So something's going on. We've got to find out what it is." — To a rally in Alabama late last year
—Telling a fake story about U.S. Gen. John Pershing squashing a Muslim rebellion in the Philippines:
"He took the 50 terrorists and he took 50 men and dipped 50 bullets in pig's blood. You heard about that? He took 50 bullets and dipped them in pig’s blood. And he has his men load up their rifles and he lined up the 50 people and they shot 49 of those people. And the 50th person, he said, you go back to your people and you tell them what happened." — To a rally in South Carolina
—Linking Sen. Ted Cruz's father to John F. Kennedy's assassin:
"His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald's being — you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. They don't even talk about that... I mean, what was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting?.. It's horrible." — To Fox News, on Tuesday
Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press