Fake News: Donald Trump Did NOT Call Republicans 'Dumbest Group Of Voters' In 1998

Fact Check

  • by: Alan Duke
Fake News: Donald Trump Did NOT Call Republicans 'Dumbest Group Of Voters' In 1998

Did Donald Trump say in a 1998 interview that if he ran for president it would be as a Republican because they are the "dumbest group of voters in the country"? No, that's not true: It is a made-up quote that has made the rounds of social media since soon after Trump announced that he was running for president in 2015. There is no record of such a quote in any interview anywhere at anytime.

The fake quote -- which Lead Stories first debunked in December 2015 -- continues to circulate, including in a post (archived here) published on July 18, 2019. It read:

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
People magazine, 1998

This is what social media users saw:

While Trump is known for statements that offend various people and groups, there is NO evidence he said this as purportedly quoted in People Magazine. People archives don't have it and there are no online records of it.

Another clue is the idea that in 1998 Republicans "believe anything on Fox News." The cable channel was in its early years then and had not yet gained the reputation as a conservative influencer that it earned after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.

The quote also conflicts with what Trump told Larry King in a 1999 CNN interview, when he was seriously talking about a presidential run:

I'm a registered Republican. I'm a pretty conservative guy. I'm somewhat liberal on social issues, especially health care, et cetera, but I'd be leaving another party, and I've been close to that party ... I think that nobody is really hitting it right. The Democrats are too far left. I mean, Bill Bradley, this is seriously left; he's trying to come a little more center, but he's seriously left. The Republicans are too far right. And I don't think anybody's hitting the chord, not the chord that I want hear, and not the chord that other people want to hear, and I've seen it.

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  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

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