In a Saturday tweetstorm, the president complained that “too many voices are being destroyed” by social media, amid an ongoing controversy about the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s use of Twitter.
The news cameras showed up, like they always do, and Donald Trump was ready for them. He emerged from a helicopter with TRUMP stamped across the side. He grinned. Then he took one of the most absurd victory laps in modern American politics.
With every tweetstorm of his presidency, this is the moment—April 27, 2011, on a tarmac in New Hampshire—that should flicker across the national memory.
Trump’s story that day was about the birth certificate of the man who was president at the time, the man whom Trump would eventually replace in the Oval Office. After years of badgering Barack Obama about his birthplace, after relentless attempts to discredit the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency by falsely claiming Obama wasn’t really born in the United States, Trump had succeeded in getting the White House to release the president’s long-form birth certificate. And there in Portsmouth, Trump took credit for settling the matter—a frenzy of his own creation.