President Trump has taken to using the term “Obama-gate” in emotionally charged Tweeter posts to describe his belief that former President Barack Obama has been illegally conspiring to undermine his presidency. While it’s unclear what the exact meaning of the term is, Trump has been using it most recently to refer to a legal case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The Obama-gate conspiracy theory believes that the Obama administration illegally targeted Mr. Flynn and other Trump associates in 2016. Flynn was charged with lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation, to which he plead guilty twice. Trump is now suggesting that the disclosure of Flynn’s name was criminal and politically motivated.
According to many political commentators, Obama-gate is a strategy is an attempt to capture support for Trump, the victim in this conspiracy and injustice at a time when his presidency looks increasingly weak. It is unclear what Trump thinks of Obama’s exact role in the conspiracy, but it fits a pattern going back to before the President’s campaign when he promoted the theory that President Obama was not actually born in the United States.
On May 11th, when a reporter asked Trump what Obamagate was, he gave a long, non-specific response. “Obamagate. It’s been going on for a long time. It’s been going on from before I even got elected, and it’s a disgrace that it happened, and if you look at what’s gone on, and if you look at now, all this information that’s being released—and from what I understand, that’s only the beginning—some terrible things happened, and it should never be allowed to happen in our country again. And you’ll be seeing what’s going on over the next, over the coming weeks, but I—and I wish you’d write honestly about it, but unfortunately you choose not to do so … You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.”