Left-leaning comedian Ellen DeGeneres must be part of a “deep state” conspiracy, President Donald Trump's son Eric said on Twitter Tuesday night, after apparently misunderstanding how social media works.
The heir to the Trump real estate fortune made the assertion by tweeting a screenshot of which accounts the company's algorithm suggested he follow, including the Twitter streams of Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama and Ellen DeGeneres.
“Shocking,” Trump tweeted. “Once again, here are the @Twitter ‘suggestions’ of who I should follow. #DeepState.”
The deep state conspiracy theory is often touted by the far right and was popularized by Steve Bannon during the 2016 presidential campaign. It refers to a shadow network that lurks within the government bureaucracy with the goal of undermining the democratically elected government, in this case the Trump administration.
Guests on Fox & Friends have falsely suggested that Obama is operating a secondary government from his Washington, D.C., home and that Clinton is in actuality the “shadow president,” of the United States. But this is the first time DeGeneres, who is a celebrity and not a government official, has been linked to the conspiracy.
Trump, 33, was quickly roasted on Twitter by commenters who thought the claim was ridiculous.
“LOL good, we’re officially at the clown stage of this. Well done Eric Trump,” responded one tweeter.
“So...you think the ‘deep state’ makes these recommendations? You think FBI and CIA agents are responsible for twitter’s suggestion that you follow certain people on twitter? You should focus more on ‘deep paranoia,’” wrote another.
It's unclear why DeGeneres and other liberals were specifically recommended to Trump. Twitter makes its suggestions based on a diverse range of criteria, all of which have to do with user habits.
According to the website, “Account suggestions on Twitter are based on many factors, including your address book contacts (if you have chosen to upload them) as well as patterns from your following history. These suggestions are generated by algorithms, which means you may or may not know the accounts or find them relevant.”
DeGeneres received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama in 2016 for her work in supporting LGBT equality. She has said Trump is not welcome as a guest on her show.
“I can’t have someone who I feel is not only dangerous for the country and for me personally as a gay woman but to the world. He’s dividing all of us, and I think I don’t want him on the show,” she said.