Did President Donald Trump ask his Vice President Mike Pence to resign on January 1st? No, hat's not true. The story was published by a liberal satire website that tries to educate gullible Trump supporters and Republicans about the need to actually click and read links before sharing or liking them in order to avoid being embarrassed by fans of the site later. All the events described in the article are not real.
The story originated from an article published by America's Last Line of Defense on December 26, 2018 titled "BREAKING: Mike Pence will Resign 'At The Request of the President'" (archived here) which opened:
According to our sources in Washington, President Trump will ask Vice President Mike Pence to resign his position as of the 1st of the year. An assistant to an aide to White House Director of Information and Propaganda, Art Tubolls, told our correspondent in the field:
"President Trump says that Pence is the only 'establishment Republican' left on his staff, and that the departure of Pence officially drains the swamp, just like he promised. The Executive branch is now full of people the President trusts, not a bunch of crusty old politicians. Mike Pence did a great job, but if we're going to take the rest of America by force after 2020, we're gonna need someone in the VP job with a little more gusto. Someone like Donald Jr. or even Ivanka. The Senate is ours. We can break any rule we want and confirm any candidate we want. Why not make the White House all Trump?"
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail and would not have known right away it was from a satire website:
An unexpected announcement from the West Wing this morning.
All links in the story go to memes or joke links and there is no "White House Director of Information and Propaganda". The name "Art Tubolls" is an anagram for "Busta Troll", the nickname of the owner of the website. His name also links to his Facebook profile. In additino to those hints the header of the site read "Information you probably shouldn't trust" and the story was posted under the category "BREAKING SATIRE".
The site comes with a clear satire disclaimer at the bottom of each article:
the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, OR ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
If you disagree with the definition of satire or have decided it is synonymous with "comedy," you should really just move along.
The owner and main writer of the site is self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has made it his full time job to troll gullible conservatives and Trump supporters into liking and sharing his articles. He runs several other websites, including potatriotpost.us, dailyworldupdate.us and nofakenewsonline.us. Sometimes he is also known under his nickname "Busta Troll". A second man working on the sites is John Prager as revealed in this earlier story we wrote.
Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites who often omit the satire disclaimer and any other hints the stories are fake. Blair has tried to get these sites shut down in the past but new ones keep cropping up and he keeps knocking them down.
Blair and his operation were profiled by the Washington Post on November 17, 2018 by Eli Saslow:
November 17 The only light in the house came from the glow of three computer monitors, and Christopher Blair, 46, sat down at a keyboard and started to type. His wife had left for work and his children were on their way to school, but waiting online was his other community, an unreality where nothing was exactly as it seemed.
If you are interested in learning more about Blair and the history of his sites, here is something to get you started:
STORY UPDATED: check for updates below. Yesterday Eli Saslow at the Washington Post wrote a fantastic article about Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has been trolling conservatives and Trump supporters online for years and occasionally even made a living out of it.
If you see one of his stories on a site that does not contain a satire disclaimer, assume it is fake news. If you do see the satire disclaimer it is of course also fake news.
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes wearethellod.com as:
A site that publishes false stories and hoaxes that are often mistaken for real news, part of a network named America's Last Line of Defense run by hoax perpetrator Christopher Blair.
According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
We wrote about wearethellod.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
- Fake News: Democrats Did NOT Cave, Did NOT Authorize Full Funding Of Wall To Avoid Shutdown
- Fake News: Penny Marshall Did NOT Donate Estate to Trump 2020
- Fake News: Colin Kaepernick NOT Arrested In Massive $200k Drug Bust
- Fake News: Dearborn City Council Did NOT Force Christian Schoolkids To Sing Muslamic Hymns
- Fake News: James Woods Hit By Death Hoax, First Victim of New Christopher Blair Site