President Donald Trump shared a fake quote from former Republican President Ronald Reagan on Twitter on Monday.
Trump passed along a tweet from an obscure account that called itself “The Reagan Battalion,” which appeared to be impersonating a well-known conservative account of the same name. The copycat account had fewer than 300 followers at the time Trump promoted it.
Its tweet read: “Dear weak Conservatives, never forget that you are no match for ‘we the people,’ and our president.” Attached to the tweet was a photo of Trump and Reagan shaking hands – with a supposed Reagan quote superimposed on top.
“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 the president,” the supposed quote read.
“Cute!” Trump wrote in his own tweet above the photo.
Facts First: While the photo is real, the supposed quote is fake. Ronald Reagan never said of Trump, “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 the president.”
The fake Reagan quote has been debunked by fact-checkers since 2016, when it began spreading in pro-Trump circles on Facebook. Joanne Drake, chief administrative officer of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, told fact-check website PolitiFact in February, “He did not ever say that about Donald Trump.”
Drake told PolitiFact that the photo was taken on November 3, 1987, in a reception in the White House Blue Room for the Friends of Art and Preservation in Embassies nonprofit.
The Reagan foundation did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment on Monday.
Fact-check website Snopes reported in August 2016 that the fake quote was first spotted on the photo in July 2016, on the “Trump Train” pro-Trump Facebook page.
In addition to his own repeated false claims on Twitter, Trump has previously used his account to amplify misinformation from others.
In 2017, for example, he shared a video from a far-right British group purporting to show a “Muslim migrant” beating up a Dutch boy. In fact, the assailant was born and raised in the Netherlands.
In 2018, he shared a claim from conservative activist Charlie Kirk that protesters in the streets of “socialist” France were chanting “We want Trump.” A video circulating in pro-Trump online circles at the time showed that the people chanting those words were actually in England.
The verified Twitter account called The Reagan Battalion had about 90,000 followers as of Monday. The little-known account that used the same name was quickly suspended from Twitter after Trump promoted it.