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Trump did not issue statement on Biden’s COVID-19 diagnosis

July 22, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: Former President Donald Trump in a statement wished President Joe Biden a speedy recovery from COVID-19 and referred to his own fight against the virus as “Herculean.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. This statement is fabricated, a Trump spokesperson confirmed on Twitter. It does not appear among the former president’s public statements on his website or on social media.

THE FACTS: Social media users shared a fabricated Trump statement as real this week after news broke Thursday that Biden had tested positive for COVID-19.

The statement, formatted to look like genuine Trump press releases, acknowledged Biden’s diagnosis, then turned the attention back to Trump’s own bout with COVID-19 in 2020.

“I hope Sleepy Joe is able to bounce back quickly, much as I was,” the bogus statement read. “Doctors described my fight against the China virus as Herculean, and not meaning the woke Disney Hercules but rather the Kevin Sorbo one. The Lou Ferrigno one as well.”

The fake statement then wished Biden a “speedy recovery” and said that “no one wants” Vice President Kamala Harris to take his place.

When Trump issues public statements, they appear on his website or on the social media platform he founded, Truth Social. The fake statement did not appear on either.

Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich confirmed the statement was fake, tweeting that it was “obviously designed by some prankster.” Numerous other fabricated Trump statements using the same format have circulated in recent months.

Many other Twitter users also acknowledged the statement wasn’t real, including Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who shared it on Friday with the caption, “This is fake, but funny as hell.”

The AP reported that Biden attended work meetings remotely on Friday, continuing his duties despite mild symptoms including a runny nose and a loose cough. He also completed his first full day of the antiviral therapy Paxlovid.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.