15 Conspiracy Theories Donald Trump Has Given More Air Time

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald J. Trump may not be a conspiracy theorist, but he certainly acts like one. Indeed, this might be part of his appeal -- dropping hints about ridiculous theories and giving hope to people who do really believe them.

The scary thing is that under a possible Trump presidency, The Donald might enact conspiracy theories into law. He could urge the Food and Drug Administration to space out vaccines, for example, in the belief that this would save children from autism. Or he could enact trade barriers which would hurt the U.S. economy because he believes foreign countries are manipulating us and that trade is a zero-sum game.

Trump has a method to his madness. Whenever he cites a conspiracy theory, he also distances himself from it in some way. He either emphasizes that he is "just asking a question" or he says "some people are very concerned," or sometimes he declares, "I don't care." This is a brilliant strategy that achieves three things: it gives a conspiracy theory more air time, it encourages those who believe the theory that Trump is one of them, and it allows The Donald to claim he never supported the theory when pressed upon it later.

Here is a list of conspiracy theories The Donald has helped promote, from least to most consequential in terms of U.S. policy were he to become president.

1. Obama's Arabic Ring

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The idea that President Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim works off of assumptions more than direct evidence. Yes, Obama refuses to use the term "radical Islamic terror," and he did spend time growing up in Indonesia and attending Indonesian-language schools. But Obama claims to be a Christian, he attends Christian services, and he does not seem to pray five times a day facing Mecca (one of the five pillars of Islam).

The one piece of evidence conspiracy theorists seize upon to "prove" his Islamic faith is a ring which supposedly has the Arabic inscription "There is no god but Allah," which is the first part of the Shahada, the Islamic declaration of faith.

To say this evidence is scant would be an understatement. Most of the photos used to interpret the "Arabic writing" on the ring are blurry, and clearer photos reveal a simple squiggly line pattern. If Obama is a secret Muslim, this ring is not evidence of it.

Nevertheless, Trump encouraged the theory in 2012, with this tweet.

But of course, he was "just asking a question." Next Page: Starbucks' war on Christmas