Sunday evening, liberal actress/singer Bette Midler tweeted out a fake Trump quote allegedly given in a People magazine interview in 1998 about whether he’d ever run for president. According to the quote attributed to Trump, he said “I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific.” The tweet went out to 1.57 million followers, and, as of this writing, has been retweeted over 8,000 times, and liked 21,000 times. Bette commented on the quote, declaring of Trump, “He certainly knew his crowd.”
Except this quote is 100 percent fake, and it was also debunked more than a year before the 2016 election. Most informed people would look at the quote and immediately know it wasn’t real. But even the left-wing “fact-checking” site Snopes debunked it back in October 2015.
Despite being debunked in 2015, I can still remember the quote being shared on social media by liberals throughout the 2016 campaign. When friends of mine shared it, I would make a point to tell them it was fake, and even show them the Snopes article (because my word wasn’t good enough, obviously) but I’d often be told in response “Well, it sounds like something he would say, so I’m leaving it up.” I remember getting similar excuses to that when I’d call others out on social media, “It still could be true,” or “Even if he didn’t say it, the quote is accurate.”
It’s now been three and a half years since Snopes debunked that quote, and yet we’re still seeing people sharing it like it’s real. Thousands of people retweeted or liked Midler’s tweet, so one can imagine the lie will continue to live on for those who desperately want to believe the quote to be true.
While Midler apparently has gone all this time without having learned that the quote was bogus, enough people have, and Midler was crucified on Twitter for pushing the fake quote.
There’s a lot more worth looking at too. And of course, there were a few people who insisted that the quote is real, and others who expressed disappointment once they learned the quote was fake. Midler’s tweet remains up more than twelve hours after it was initially posted. As of the time of publishing, she hadn’t deleted it or posted a retraction or apology.
UPDATE: Bette Midler has finally acknowledged her mistake, but basically excuses herself because it “it sounds SO much like him” that she believed it was true.
I apologize; this quote turns out to be a fake from way back in ‘15-16. Don’t know how I missed it, but it sounds SO much like him that I believed it was true! Fact Check: Did Trump say in '98 Republicans are dumb? https://t.co/NY9s6V49el via @rgj
— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) June 3, 2019
Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published in July 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis