Donald Trump’s go-to tactic for hijacking the news cycle is simple: bash enemies, mercilessly, and insinuate that they are part of a terrible conspiracy.
The President has spent the last few days again tweeting conspiracy theories about the mysterious 2001 death of an aide to then-Rep. Joe Scarborough, who now hosts Morning Joe on MSNBC. Cue outrage and the news cycle shifts in the President’s direction. He does it every time.
Psycho Joe Scarborough is rattled, not only by his bad ratings but all of the things and facts that are coming out on the internet about opening a Cold Case. He knows what is happening!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
But Cockburn has noticed that the President is straining for something shocking or strange enough to flip the world’s attention. As November approaches, he will become ever more desperate for electoral outrage-fodder. Cockburn offers these five conspiracy theories as possible media fire-starters:
COVID-19 is public enemy number one at the moment, as the US death toll passes 100,000.
Thanks to the Wuhan virus, Trump’s economy went from historic highs to Great Depression levels of uncertainty. Reports do suggest that the virus was indeed accidentally created in a Wuhan lab. But why stop there? If Trump accused China of intentionally creating the virus as a bioweapon — a theory the government has reportedly explored — he could ride Cold War Two to victory in November.
The Bill Gates world order
All the best conspiracy rumors have a vaccine aspect. Following efforts to create a cure for the coronavirus, a theory has gained traction that Bill Gates plans to use a vaccine to implant microchips into billions around the globe. A May Yahoo poll found that a whopping 44 percent of Republicans believe the debunked conspiracy. Imagine the media storm if Trump got behind the anti-vaxxer brigades.
The Pelosi virus
Could Trump’s arch-nemesis be behind the creation of COVID-19?
Conspiracy theorists shared a viral photo in April of Speaker Nancy Pelosi visiting a Wuhan lab, which they claimed took place in November, when the virus is believed to have begun spreading. It turns out the photo is from 2015, but if Trump finds himself bored again, he could put the theory out there as a cheap shot at ‘Nervous Nancy’.
Andrew Cuomo’s secret nipple piercing
Forget that Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York forced COVID-19 patients into nursing homes, costing who knows how many lives. It’s much more fun, and viral, to say that Cuomo may have nipple piercings. Eagle-eyed as ever, Cockburn was among the first to notice in late March.
‘It appears they are pierced, very likely with a 5/8” barbell,’ one piercing shop owner told VICE. ‘Hard to guess the gauge, but likely 12-14 g, with what appears to be 5mm balls at the end.’
‘We have lots of white-collar, middle-aged male clients with nipple or genital piercings, so it’s not really uncommon,’ another piercer told VICE.
Cockburn’s intrepid reporting led to a Cuomo aide issuing a denial in the New York Post. But that shouldn’t stop the President raising this piercing matter. ‘Show us your nips’ could be the new ‘show us your birth certificate’.
Schiff gets too shifty
Trump doesn’t really want to talk about coronavirus. He could always bring the narrative back to his bread and butter from early 2020: impeachment. Trump’s approval ratings hit all-time highs when he was impeached in January.
The Democratic hero of impeachment, Rep. Adam Schiff, was accused in 2019 of paying off a 19-year-old male who claimed the congressman sexually assaulted him. The story, of course, was completely fabricated, but when has that ever stopped Donald Trump?