Trump Resisted Saying 'Deep State' Because He Thought It Made Him Sound Nuts

For months President Donald Trump has directly accused a so-called "Deep State" within the FBI and Justice Department of conspiring against him, his administration and his campaign. But he reportedly was not always keen on the conspiracy theory.

Initially, Trump did not want to use the term because he believed it would make him appear "too much like a crank," The New York Times reported Monday, citing two unnamed former aides.

Trump eventually started using the term in November after he saw it "played well" with conservative media, and ever since, the president has often deployed the phrase to describe a litany of his political opponents. Most notably, Trump has accused the "Deep State," loosely defined as career government officials intent on controlling the nation from the shadows, of going after him and his administration rather than special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, James Comey or the Obama administration.

"In the new media landscape, InfoWars and Fox News are where the president's getting his support, and these theories are promulgated there," former Trump aide Sam Nunberg told The Times.

Indeed, Fox News host Sean Hannity, who reportedly often speaks to and advises Trump, has also taken to using the term on his nightly show and even attacking Mueller.

The special counsel assigned to investigate Russia's interference in the 2016 election has also been a favorite target for Trump's use of the term. Most recently, Trump tweeted about the "Criminal Deep State" in reference to the probe and the conspiracy he's dubbed "Spygate" involving the FBI's use of an informant within his campaign.

"Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State. They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before! What goes around, comes around!" Trump said Wednesday.

Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State. They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before! What goes around, comes around!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2018

Trump has often peddled conspiracy theories for political purposes. He began his rise up the national political ladder by championing the birther movement, which falsely claimed former President Barack Obama was born in Kenya, not the United States, and therefore was not eligible to be president. Obama eventually released his long form birth certificate in 2011, but the conspiracy was still pushed by some of Obama's opponents.

Along the campaign trail, Trump claimed to have seen Muslims in New Jersey celebrating and "cheering" following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York's World Trade center while speaking at a rally in November 2015. Trump was confronted about the claim and said he saw it on television. It ran contrary to numerous reports following the attacks.