GORILLA MINDSET

Trump’s Son Says Mike ‘Pizzagate’ Cernovich Deserves a Pulitzer

Mike Ceronvich, who propagated the lie that a child-sex ring existed below a pizza shop, claims he broke the news that Susan Rice “unmasked” Trump officials’ names. He’s been praised by Mike Flynn and now Don Jr. and Kellyanne Conway.

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

The president’s son said Tuesday a man who believes there is an child-sex ring literally underground at a Washington, D.C. pizza restaurant should win a Pulitzer Prize for reporting.

“Congrats to @Cernovich for breaking the #SusanRice story,” Donald Trump Jr. wrote at 8:41 AM. “In a long gone time of unbiased journalism he'd win the Pulitzer, but not today!”

He’s talking about Mike Cernovich, a pro-Trump writer who catapulted to online infamy with the publication of his book Gorilla Mindset, (endorsed by Mike Flynn) and his #HillarysHealth tweets during the election to assert that Hillary Clinton was dying.

The Pulitzer-worthy story — in Trump’s eyes — is where Cernovich asserted that former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice was “unmasking” the names of incoming Trump administration officials in U.S. surveillance reports. Bloomberg subsequently published a similar story, this time quoting sources, saying it was Rice.

Former national security officials have reportedly described the “unmasking” process as routine and far from illegal or even improper, but Cernovich’s story was big enough and widely shared enough that it provided a counteroffensive against consistent damaging stories about investigations into potential ties between Trump officials and Russia.

The praise for Cernovich was perhaps made easier by his recent appearance on 60 Minutes, which was praised by counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway. She tweeted a Medium post on Monday written by Cernovich that included the transcript of his entire 60 Minutes interview.

“A must-see ratings bonanza: @cernovich @scottpelley @60Minutes: Watch this entire exchange or read full transcript,” Conway tweeted.

When asked about the tweet, Conway told The Daily Beast that she was simply interested in the topic of the conversation.

“The high ratings of the 60 Minutes piece caught my eye, so I looked for both the full clip and the full transcript,” Conway said in an email to The Daily Beast. “I tweeted both (using all handles) because this entire discussion about “fake news” is topical. (Apparently, the viewing audience agrees). I made no comment on the content of the interview. The transcript was not particularly flattering.”

“I don’t know him. I don’t recall ever meeting or speaking with him,” she added.

As for Trump Jr., he’s no stranger to wildly hypothesizing about conspiracy theories on his Twitter feed. During the campaign, he tweeted an InfoWars story that questioned whether Hillary Clinton was wearing an earpiece during a forum.

Update, 4:05 p.m. ET: This piece has been updated to include a comment from Kellyanne Conway.