No matter how stupid you think Donald Trump is, he is actually far, far more stupid than that.
For example, Aaron Rupar of Vox reports:
From refusing to denounce an absurd, obviously false online conspiracy theory during a high-profile town hall on NBC to retweeting a satirical website as if it's breaking news, it's becoming increasingly difficult to tell if Trump can separate fact from fiction. . . .
[A]n exchange during his NBC town hall with Savannah Guthrie showcased for viewers who aren't on Twitter just how off the rails his posting has become.
Guthrie grilled Trump about a retweet he posted on Wednesday evening of a conspiracy theory promoted by a QAnon account. The tweet accused Biden of pulling strings to take out the group of Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden — a theory refuted by the fact that every Navy SEAL involved in the bin Laden raid is in fact still alive.
Instead of even trying to defend himself, Trump suggested to Guthrie that because he read it on the internet it might be true, describing the conspiracy theory as "an opinion of somebody and that was a retweet. I'll put it out there. People can decide for themselves. I don't take a position." . . .
[I]n one of the more memorable moments of the evening, Guthrie hit back, admonishing Trump, "You're the president. You're not someone's crazy uncle who can retweet whatever."
The President provides a strange defense of his retweeting of a Seal Team Six conspiracy theory pic.twitter.com/3TrCRwF5Au— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) October 16, 2020
But if you thought Guthrie drawing blood on national TV would be enough to chasten Trump, he quickly demonstrated otherwise.
On Friday morning, Trump embarrassed himself for the second time within a day by retweeting an article from the satirical Babylon Bee website (the site's motto is "Fake news you can trust") as part of a failed attack on Twitter and Hunter Biden.
Twitter Shuts Down Entire Network To Slow Spread Of Negative Biden News https://t.co/JPmjOrKPcr via @TheBabylonBee Wow, this has never been done in history. This includes his really bad interview last night. Why is Twitter doing this. Bringing more attention to Sleepy Joe & Big T— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2020
Suffice it to say, Twitter did not shut down in order to suppress bad Hunter Biden news. But instead of admitting his error or even deleting the tweet, Trump followed up with another, clarifying that by "Big T" he wasn't referring to himself, but rather "Big Tech."
Big T was not a reference to me, but rather to Big Tech, which should have been properly pointed out in Twitter’s Fake Trending Section!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2020
The CEO of the Babylon Bee, Seth Dillon, responded to Trump by tweeting, sarcastically, that his satire site is "the president's most trusted news source."
It's unclear whether Trump has anybody in his orbit at this point who's willing to point out to him that he's tweeting out satire as though it's breaking news. . . . He has access to the best intelligence in the world, yet all too often he's liable to believe anything he reads on the internet so long as it's useful for his political ends.
As Rupar is writing for a general audience, he's being somewhat disingenuous. Rupar is an indefatigable chronicler (even while on parental leave with a newborn baby!) of Trump's public and TV appearances, so he knows more than most people that Trump cannot distinguish fact from fiction.
But it's also clear that Trump has no interest in separating truth from lies. It's a distinction that is irrelevant to his purposes. It simply doesn't matter (neither does broadcasting his on-going idiocy, which is very real). Members of his cult will believe whatever he says.
(It's so easy to fool Republicans. John Fleming, a conservative representative from Louisiana, was so horrified by a report about Planned Parenthood's alleged $8 billion "Abortionplex" (posted by The Onion in 2011), he shared the link on his Facebook page in early 2012 and quickly became a laughingstock.)