President Donald Trump, during an NBC town hall event on Thursday, did not disavow a conspiracy theory he retweeted alleging the 2011 raid to kill Osama Bin Laden was staged, instead saying he knew nothing about the theory and that he was instead sharing a retweet.
During the town hall event Thursday, NBC Host Savannah Guthrie questioned Trump about his decision to retweet links to theory.
NBC shared a clip of the exchange, “Pres. Trump: ‘That was a retweet, I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves.’ @SavannahGuthrie: ‘I don’t get that. You’re the president. You’re not, like, someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever.'”
Pres. Trump: “That was a retweet, I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves.”@SavannahGuthrie: “I don’t get that. You’re the president. You’re not, like, someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever.” #TrumpTownHall pic.twitter.com/sFEiIbJPgd
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 16, 2020
During the exchange, Guthrie said, “Just this week you retweeted to your 87 million followers a conspiracy theory that Joe Biden orchestrated to have the Navy SEAL Team 6 killed to cover up the fake death of Bin Laden, now why would you send a lie like that to your followers?”
“I know nothing about it,” Trump said. “That was a retweet. That was an opinion of somebody, and that was a retweet. I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves.”
“I don’t get that, you’re the president,” Guthrie responded. “You’re not like someone’s crazy uncle who just retweets whatever.”
“That was a retweet, and I do a lot of retweets,” Trump said. “And frankly because the media is so fake and so corrupt, if I didn’t have social media — I don’t call it Twitter, I call it social media — I wouldn’t be able to get the word out.”
“Well, the word is false,” Guthrie responded.
USA Today reported one account Trump retweeted, which shared the theory, has since been suspended. Another tweet, which is still live on Twitter and which was retweeted by Trump, included a video in which U.S. Air Force veteran and self-described Benghazi whistleblower Nicholas Noe claimed three former CIA directors were aware Bin Laden was living in Iran and was transferred to Pakistan for a “trophy kill” to boost then-President Barack Obama’s reelection chances. Noe goes on in the video to speculate whether Bin Laden was actually present during the May 2, 2011 raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Well… 🇺🇸👀🇺🇸👀🇺🇸👀 https://t.co/G0NayVPgIV
— MAGA ROD (@VFL2013) October 13, 2020
“I’ve heard two things,” Noe said. “That Bin Laden, that wasn’t him, that was his body double. I mean I guess we’ll never know if they buried it at sea,” he said, making air quotes with his hands.
Noe said whether or not Bin Laden was the individual killed in the 2011 raid, the Obama administration made payments to Iran for the Bin Laden raid.
Rob O’Neill, the U.S. Navy SEAL who has claimed credit for killing Osama Bin Laden, has rebuked the theory, promoted by Trump. On Tuesday, he tweeted, “I know who I killed, homie. Every time.”
On Wednesday, O’Neill continued his criticism of the theory during an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
Cuomo Prime Time tweeted, “A former Navy Seal who was there when American forces killed Osama Bin Laden debunks the false conspiracy theory about the raid which was pushed by Pres. Trump. ‘You are really trampling on the graves of some of the best heroes I have ever personally worked with.’”
A former Navy Seal who was there when American forces killed Osama Bin Laden debunks the false conspiracy theory about the raid which was pushed by Pres. Trump.
“You are really trampling on the graves of some of the best heroes I have ever personally worked with.” pic.twitter.com/VHwW5A5XVb
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) October 15, 2020
O’Neill said the president has access to the classified information, including photographic and DNA documentation that O’Neill and his team did take down Bin Laden’s compound and that Bin Laden was killed.