Washington (CNN) - On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump suggested, via Twitter, that Democrats had inflated the death toll in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017. The goal? To make him look bad, of course!
"This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico," Trump tweeted. "If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!"
Trump's tweet came as Hurricane Florence barreled toward the Carolina coast. It also followed hard on a study commissioned by the Puerto Rican government that showed the death toll from Maria was close to 3,000.
Trump's evidence for why the study was wrong? He offered none.
This then becomes simply the latest example of the President of the United States embracing -- or creating -- a conspiracy theory for the sole reason that it a) makes him look good/strong/tough or b) advances his political agenda.
Remember that Trump's real start in politics came earlier this decade, when he became a high-profile cheerleader for the repeatedly debunked idea that then-President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
Below, my best effort at rounding up the major conspiracy theories Trump has either touted or started since he entered the 2016 presidential race. To be clear: There is no real evidence to back up these claims — and a slew of evidence that rebuts them. Did I miss one? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll keep a running -- and updated -- list.
* Ted Cruz's father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy
* Between 3 and 5 million illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election
* The evidence isn't clear that Russia interfered in the election
* Longtime Clinton aide Vince Foster may not have committed suicide
* Vaccines may be causing autism and other problems
* Muslims were celebrating on New Jersey roofs on Sept. 11, 2001
* Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia may have been murdered
* Climate change may not actually be a thing
* His voice might not actually be his voice on the "Access Hollywood" tape
The Point: This is who Donald Trump is. This is what he does. And scarily, he's getting more divorced from established facts and reality as his presidency goes on.
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