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Trump did not disparage GOP in 1998 People magazine interview

June 3, 2019

CLAIM: “If I were to run, 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.” -- Donald Trump in 1998 People magazine interview.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The president did not make such a comment to People magazine.

THE FACTS: Singer and actress Bette Midler, who often speaks out against Trump, shared the false quote attributed to Trump on her Twitter account Sunday, with the comment that Trump “certainly knew his crowd.” Julie Farin, a People magazine spokeswoman, told The Associated Press that the magazine looked into the claim exhaustively when it first surfaced years ago but did not find anything remotely like it made by the president.

“We combed through every Trump story in our archive,” Farin said in an email.

The image used with the false quote shows Trump during a 1988 appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” where he discussed running for president, but made no reference to Republicans being “the dumbest group of voters.” The quote first began circulating in 2015 and has been widely shared across social media platforms, including Facebook. It has been widely debunked since that time.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.