Don't look now, but the president's middle son, Eric, seems to believe he's caught wise to a conspiracy against his father. Unlike some of President Trump's more pointed, specific claims of conspiracies against him, however, this one involves Twitter's algorithms and a popular comedian and daytime talk show host. If you haven't already heard about Eric Trump's Ellen DeGeneres conspiracy theory tweets, then you're in for quite a treat!
Eric Trump is the president's second-oldest son, alongside his older brother, Donald Jr., and his younger brother, Barron. On Tuesday, Eric tweeted out a screenshot of the "who to follow" suggestions Twitter displayed for him, and he seemed suspicious of who it suggested he follow. First, there was former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, his dad's former presidential rival. Then, there was former President Barack Obama, someone the president spends seems more than a little preoccupied about and who shows up often in his tweets.
Lastly, Twitter suggested Eric follow DeGeneres, the 59-year-old daytime TV host who's been at the helm of the The Ellen DeGeneres Show since 2003. Perhaps spurred by the first two suggestions, who are both major Democratic Party power players, Eric clearly thought he'd uncovered something massive.
For anyone who's not familiar with the "deep state" lingo, it's a turn of phrase the president himself has used in the past. The concept of a "deep state," which originated in Turkish politics over the past several decades, is typically characterized as a network of deep-seeded government officials, civil servants, and military officers who operate behind the scenes to guide a nation in a particular direction, regardless of who the duly elected leader is.
As The Economist detailed last year, the Turkish deep state has been a genuine cause of concern for the country's citizens, having allegedly orchestrated killing and riots, and enabled drug trafficking dating back to the 1950s.
In the American context, the phrase has recently been deployed by the president himself, to suggest that some employees of the Justice Department are conspiring to undermine his administration. That's pretty clearly what Eric was getting at with the tweet, though needless to say, Twitter algorithms suggesting you follow prominent politicians and celebrities are a far cry from unseen government forces working against an elected president.
So far, DeGeneres hasn't responded to the social media dust-up, if indeed you can call it that. It's a safe bet that she'd find it an easy topic to joke about, though. Again, for the record, Eric described Twitter's suggestions for who he might follow "shocking," and hashtagged his tweet with "#DeepState." What those suggestions amounted to were:
- The former president of the United States.
- The former Democratic nominee for president.
- A popular celebrity.
If that's all the deep state has to offer, it's a safe bet that his father's administration isn't in very much trouble. In reality, the president's insistence that an American deep state is conspiring against him has drawn a tremendous amount of scrutiny and criticism in recent days.
Specifically, Trump called on the "Deep State Justice Dept" to investigate and potentially jail former Clinton campaign aide Huma Abedin, also lumping in "Comey & others."
Trump has repeatedly attacked former FBI director James Comey since firing him last year, reportedly describing him as a "nut job" to Russian diplomats Sergei Kislyak and Sergey Lavrov back in May of 2017. From the looks of things, it seems like the deep state rhetoric may have rubbed off on his son, albeit in a way that made him the butt of a lot of jokes on Twitter on Wednesday.