President Donald Trump frequently criticizes media coverage of him that sometimes paints him in a negative light as “fake news.” Much of the time, the news itself isn’t actually fake at all, but merely not to the president’s liking.
“Instead of fabricated content, Trump uses the term to describe news coverage that is unsympathetic to his administration and his performance, even when the news reports are accurate,” PolitiFact pointed out in 2017.
But on Monday morning, it was the president who was sharing content that one could call “fake” — and this time, because it actually was fabricated.
Trump quoted a tweet from the Twitter user “The Reagan Battalion” (@reaganbattaIion) a conservative account that is decidedly pro-Trump and frequently tries to tie him to the conservative movement of former President Ronald Reagan. It is itself a fake account, a knock-off of a real one that is also called The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion), and has been inactive for quite some time now.
In a tweet they made back in February 2017, The Reagan Battalion (the fake one) shared an image of the former president shaking hands with Trump at an event in the 1980s. The image includes an alleged quote from Reagan, who purportedly said, “For the life of me, and I’ll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with a president.”
Except, according to several fact-checking sites, including Snopes, Reagan never said those words at all.
The photograph of the two shaking hands is real. But the quote is entirely fabricated. The image seems to have originated within a Facebook page called “The Trump Train,” which has produced fake content promoting Trump and decrying his detractors at several points in the past.
Still, in spite of the fake quote and the age of the tweet, for some reason, Trump was able to find it, and quoted it in a tweet of his own Monday morning. “Cute!” was all the president wrote alongside it.
Later on that same morning, Trump shared several other tweets from The Reagan Battalion — this time, doing so from the real account, not the fake one. The situation puzzled journalist Justin Baragona.
“So after tweeting out a fake quote from an inactive knockoff Reagan Battalion account, Trump has just retweeted a bunch of days-old posts from the real (and one-time Never Trump) account celebrating his 4th of July event,” Baragona wrote.
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Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.