Trump habitually repeats theories he sees in conservative media. Donald Trump had a firmer grip on reality as a younger man who primarily followed the mainstream news, before the invention of Fox News. His descent into paranoia is linked with his growing absorption into the right-wing media echo chamber. Trump has not infected conservatism. Conservatism has infected Trump.
This is not an abstract question or a debater’s point. The insistence by conservative dissidents on treating Trump as an alien disease upon their movement prevents them from diagnosing, and therefore treating, the source of the infection. To restore the Republican Party to health, defined as being committed to some baseline relationship with reality and a commitment to democratic governing norms, requires freeing it from conservatism’s grip. It requires a break from decades of American right-wing tradition. And if that sounds like a deeper schism than anti-Trump conservatives are willing to contemplate at the moment, they need to come to grips with the reality that before their party gets better, it is going to get much worse.