When Donald Trump thinks your conspiracy theory is a little over the top, it’s a good sign that you may have gone ‘round the bend. But the fact that the billionaire who spent untold amounts of time and money trying to convince the world that Barack Obama was born in Kenya thinks the latest theory about the president is nuts doesn’t appear to be slowing down the newest “Truther” notion making the rounds.
Like Christianity, Trutherism comes in many sects. There are 9/11 truthers, who claim the attacks were an inside job; Sandy Hook truthers, who say the 2012 massacre of schoolchildren was staged to create support for gun control; JFK assassination truthers who think Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone. The list is endless, but the latest denomination to rise from the fever swamps are the “Tear Truthers.”
In his announcement Tuesday that he would sign several executive orders meant to address gun violence, Obama discussed the rash of mass shootings that have plagued the country in recent years. When he got to the Sandy Hook massacre, in which 20 small children were gunned down, he paused to wipe away tears.
This was too much for a certain breed of Obama critic, who see cynical manipulation in virtually everything the president does, and within moments, social media erupted with assertions that Obama was faking emotion for dramatic effect.
From there, it went to writers at fringe media outlets, like Breitbart.com’s press critic John Nolte, who spent much of the morning and early afternoon sputtering on Twitter about the president’s “phony fascist tears.” He then moved on to video analysis, posting pictures that, he claimed, showed Obama putting something in his eyes.
Obama touching his eyes JUST BEFORE the tears came. He's putting something in his eyes to create the fascist tears. pic.twitter.com/U3KBwM5L6X— John Nolte (@NolteNC) January 5, 2016
The website for pizza executive-turned GOP presidential candidate-turned radio host Herman Cain trumpeted, “Shameless Obama resorts to fake tears in latest gun control rant” and suggested that, in his spare time, the President has studied method acting so that he can produce tears on demand. Really.
By the afternoon, the idea that Obama had faked being upset when he spoke about the brutal murder of small children – children whose families he met on an individual basis not long after the shootings – had made it to the mainstream.
On Fox News, contributor Andrea Tantaros suggested Obama had used raw onions or something similar to induce the tears.
Improbably, it was left to Donald Trump to inject some sanity into the discussion, which he did on Wednesday morning in a phone interview with the hosts of "Fox and Friends" on Fox News.
Trump, who leads most polls in the GOP presidential primary, said, “It's a thing that he feels – I think he's incorrect about it, they're just taking chunks and chunks out of the Second Amendment, but I think he probably means well.”
“I actually think he was sincere,” Trump said. “I’ll probably go down about 5 points in the polls for saying that.”