U.S. President Donald Trump defended retweeting a widely debunked conspiracy theory about Osama bin Laden during a town hall event on NBC on Thursday.
Moderator Savannah Guthrie asked Trump about the retweet, saying, "Why would you send a lie like that to your followers?"
Trump replied, "That was a retweet, I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves.”
Guthrie, not satisfied, hit back, “I don’t get that. You’re the president. You’re not, like, someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever.”
Trump spread the conspiracy theory with a retweet on Twitter Tuesday, alleging that bin Laden is still alive and Joe Biden and Barack Obama “may have had Seal Team 6 killed.”
The former Navy Seal who killed bin Laden blasted Trump on CNN Wednesday. Robert O'Neill, 44, expressed to host Chris Cuomo his shock to see the "highest-ranking person in the country ... trampling on the graves of some of the best heroes" in the United States.
The tweet Trump retweeted read, “Hiden Biden and Obama may have had Seal Team 6 killed! EXPLOSIVE: CIA Whistleblower Exposes Biden’s Alleged Role with the Deaths of Seal Team- Claims to have Documented Proof. RETWEET!!!”
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The tweet came from an account linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory and linked to an article that further laid out the conspiracy theory.
The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer explains that this “bizarre theory, which is outre even by the standards of the right’s usual Benghazi claims, also alleges that Osama Bin Laden’s body-double, rather than the terrorist mastermind himself, was killed in 2011.”
Twitter has since suspended the account Trump retweeted after the tweet went viral as a result of Trump boosting it. Reactions on Twitter were quick and condemned Trump’s promotion of the conspiracy theory.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper called it “sheer lunacy.” Trump critic George Conway jested, “gosh, the president should be careful what he retweets because people might get the impression he is possibly deranged.”