As the conspiracy theory that former President Donald Trump will be reinstated in August continues to gain traction on right-wing media and among some ardent Trump supporters, it’s also causing considerable concern among the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that it could touch off acts of domestic terrorism.
According to Politico, John Cohen, the top counterterrorism official at DHS, told members of the House Homeland Security Committee this week that the agency is watching chatter among “reinstatement” theorists carefully:
“In the briefing, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) asked Cohen how DHS is following the spread of disinformation and conspiracy theories, as well as the way that discourse can fuel violence. She specifically brought up the conspiracy theory claiming Trump will be reinstated as president in August — a theory Trump himself has reportedly promoted.
“Cohen replied that DHS is not aware of any specific, credible threats of violence linked to the conspiracy theory about Trump being reinstated. But he added that DHS is following discussion of the topic online among extremist communities. And he said department officials are highly concerned about it because it fuels the false narrative that the election was rigged — a narrative that may trigger a violent response from extremists.”
This is what we’ve come to in the United States: Lies are spread on Fox News, Newsmax, and One America and then work their way into the morass of disinformation and virulent hatred that festers in online communities.
Perhaps the most fervent spreader of lies that Trump will be returned to the White House later this year is MyPillow founder and CEO Mike Lindell, who continues to move the goalposts when one deadline passes without the failed, one-term president being coronated as national potentate. Reportedly, even Trump is buying Lindell’s fact-free pronouncements:
“Lindell told The Daily Beast that Trump probably reached that conclusion because he has been promoting it.”
The reinstatement lie has also gained traction among a large number of Americans, with almost one-third saying in a recent poll that they also believe Trump will be back as head of state sometime this year.
It remains to be seen how conspiracy theorists will react if Trump is indicted, which seems likely, but there have been warnings that action may also touch off acts of terrorism from Trump supporters.
Apparently, we now live in a country where millions of our fellow citizens are too damn lazy to search for the truth and too stupid to believe it when it’s right in front of them.