On Wednesday, Hawaiian federal judge Derrick K. Watson issued an order blocking President Trump's revised executive order on immigration, affecting would-be migrants from six majority Muslim countries, just hours before it was meant to go into effect.
US and international news media quickly rushed to search for details on the judge's background, with resources like CNN, the New York Times and the Guardian all rushing to ask derivations of the same question: 'Who is Derrick Watson?'
As a basic search of Wikipedia would reveal, most media reported that Watson was nominated to his post at the Hawaiian District Court by President Obama in 2013. Some even indicated that Watson graduated from the same Harvard Law School class as Barack Obama did in 1991.
But what they didn't mention, either out of ignorance or for political reasons, has shocked a group of Reddit users at a popular pro-Trump subreddit called The_Donald. In a post headlined "I Kept Digging," one user from the group connected the dots, pointing out that Obama and Watson weren't just classmates and political allies – but were also within a five minute drive of one another just 48 hours before the judge issued his ruling.
The story checks out, at least in part. Earlier this week, Hawaii media confirmed that the former president made an unannounced trip to the island of Oahu, home to the state capital of Honolulu, on Monday, playing a round of golf and dining at a private room at a local Thai restaurant with his sister and friends. Using Google Maps, Reddit's observant user pointed out that the restaurant, Noi Thai Cuisine, was just a five minute drive from Judge Watson's house, and just a few minutes from the Prince Kuhio Federal Building, where Watson presides.
And while progressive media watchdog Media Matters has already jumped to call the suggestion that the two may have met an alt-right 'conspiracy theory,' independent outlets have begun asking questions, saying that it doesn't take much effort to connect the dots and suggest that Obama didn't come to Hawaii just to play golf and eat some Thai food with his sister.
President Trump has already called the halt to his executive order an "unprecedented judicial overreach," and said that it was obviously done "for political reasons" to make his administration look weak. The president also vowed to appeal the decision. It will be interesting to see what Trump, already extremely suspicious of the ex-president's political maneuvers, would say if he found out that Judge Watson's decision may have been swayed by Obama.