Fact-checking the dangerous bin Laden conspiracy theory that Trump touted
Posted October 15, 2020 2:46 p.m. EDT
CNN — President Donald Trump is no stranger to conspiracy theories. Before Trump was even elected, he spent years pushing birther lies about President Barack Obama, the first Black president of the United States.
This week he amplified articles and videos promoting another completely baseless theory about Obama.
On Tuesday, Trump retweeted a post from an account linked to QAnon, a collective of online conspiracists, which has since been suspended. The tweet alleged "Biden and Obama may have had Seal Team 6 killed," Osama Bin Laden was still alive, and that the man killed in the Obama-directed raid lead by Seal Team 6 was actually a body double. Later that night, Trump retweeted a post claiming top Obama administration officials colluded to bring bin Laden from Iran to Pakistan for "Obama's trophy kill."
Facts First: Both of these theories are baseless and play into Trump's trend of casting false aspersions on the legacy of his predecessor.
In the early morning hours of May 2, 2011, Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by US Special Forces during a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A DNA test was conducted, confirming it was bin Laden. He was buried at sea.
Those are the facts.
Trump's initial retweet was rebuked by one of the Navy SEAL members of the raid, who is very much still alive. "Very brave men said goodby (sic) to their kids to go kill Osama bin Laden," Robert J. O'Neill tweeted following Trump's retweet. "We were given the order by President Obama. It was not a body double."
O'Neill, who has previously expressed support for Trump, told CNN's Chris Cuomo that the promotion of these conspiracy theories for the purpose of politics is "really trampling on the graves of some of the best heroes I have ever personally worked with."