The Slatest

Trump Retweets Fan Account Meme Implying Obama, Clintons Should Be Tried for Treason

Trump gestures with both hands while speaking. He is wearing a heavy coat, and behind him, the Washington Monument can be seen in the background.
President Donald Trump speaks to the press at the White House on Monday.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The president behaved strangely on Twitter again Wednesday morning. While Trump tweeting out erroneous and aggressively unpresidential statements from his account is not exactly novel, it’s still worth pointing out what a weird morning it was on his timeline.

He started the day with an 8:40 a.m. tweet aimed at familiar targets: “Fake News” and the “Angry Mueller Gang of Dems.” The tweet included an accusation that Democrats are “viciously telling” people to lie. This appears to be based on Trump associate and birther conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi’s statement Monday that he would reject a plea deal from Mueller that would involve admitting to perjury because “I am not going to sign a lie.”

Trump then returned to a more familiar line, comparing Democrats to Joseph McCarthy.

Trump has cried out about McCarthyism three times before: twice accusing Mueller of a “witch hunt” and once to wrongly accuse Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the election.

The president moved on from original content at that point and went on to retweet a fan account called “The Trump Train” that, in a conservative meme, demanded to know when the Clintons and Obama would be tried for treason.

Apart from the crassness of the meme, the news from this retweet appears to be that the president condoned the idea of not just arresting and trying his predecessor (you could be forgiven for forgetting that just criticizing a former president used to be taboo for a sitting president) and former political rival (he has been privately voicing a desire to have the Justice Department investigate and prosecute Hillary Clinton, it was reported last week) but doing so specifically on charges of treason.

Trump went on to retweet the fan account three more times. The first had to do with a complaint about General Motors, which announced recently it was closing several plants, angering the president. The third was another fearmongering tweet about “criminal illegals” throwing rocks at border agents.

But the second retweet was based fully on an absurd falsehood. It had to do with a claim that “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program[s].” This claim is based on a document that actually lists a payment to a family of five refugees mostly for a one-time resettlement assistance payment by the government of Canada.

Next up: a retweet of a fan account for Mike Pence. This one just says, “I’m thankful for every day Hillary Clinton is not President!”

Then he twice retweeted a video from October of Hillary Clinton joking that “they all look alike” after a moderator confused black politicians Eric Holder and Cory Booker. Clinton appeared to be mocking what she perceived to be the moderator’s racist slip-up, and while some liberals criticized the joke, the comment did not become a major news item. Some conservatives have seized upon the video as proof of liberal hypocrisy and Clinton’s bald-faced racism.

This was not the most bizarre Twitter spree of Trump’s presidency, and media critics have argued over whether the president’s strange, inflammatory, and often false comments are deserving of media coverage. In this instance, though, it seems worth mentioning when a sitting president starts toying with the term treason.