If you aren’t anti-Muslim, you must be a Muslim.
That’s the tone Donald Trump’s co-chair in New York, Carl Paladino, took on Thursday when he joined a tired chorus of conspiracy theorists who think President Barack Obama, a practicing Christian, is actually a Muslim.
The failed 2010 gubernatorial candidate went off the rails during an unrelated interview with the Observer, saying:
“In the mind of the average American, there is no doubt he is a Muslim. He is not a Christian.”
As evidence, Paladino pointed to Obama’s international policy and apparent pro-Muslim bias overseas: “Look at what he’s done with Iran, what he’s done with the Sunni-Shia thing over in Iraq and Iran, and with ISIS.”
People have been making the argument ― with no proof beyond the president’s traditionally Muslim middle name, Hussein ― since 2008. By 2010, at least 18 percent of Americans thought Obama was Muslim, though the conversation fizzled out as the president proved over and over that he is a practicing Christian.
Until this election cycle.
Actor Antonio Sabato Jr. jumped on the Obama-Muslim train at the GOP convention last month, as those close to Trump breathed new life into the old conspiracies about the president’s birth certificate.
“And the question was: Did he get in as a U.S. citizen, or was he brought into Harvard University as a citizen who wasn’t from this country?” said Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, on CNN this week.
Obama has showed his long-form birth certificate before, and he appears to be taking all the conspiracy theories in stride. Hey, at least people don’t believe he hosted a satanic ceremony at a state house. Oh, wait.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.