Fact Check: Trump Did NOT Say 'People Are Dying Who Have Never Died Before'

Fact Check

  • by: Eric Ferkenhoff
Fact Check: Trump Did NOT Say 'People Are Dying Who Have Never Died Before' Never Said!

Did President Trump make the nonsensical statement, "People are dying who have never died before," during a White House briefing updating the country on the state of his administration's response to the coronavirus? No, that's not true: A search of transcripts of Trump's remarks, as well as of news stories from the day of the purported statement, make no mention of the odd quote.

The claim appears in the form of memes in posts like this (archived here) published March 18, 2020. One example opened with the text "THE EPITOME OF STUPIDITY" and the meme read:

'People are dying who have never died before.' Donald J. Trump, March 18, 2020

Users on social media saw this:

Trump gave briefings on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, as the country saw more deaths and infections from COVID-19, Trump signed a massive relief bill to stimulate the economy and the stock market conitnued its sell-off. But at no time did the words come out of Trump's mouth.

Lead Stories, as well as Snopes and Politifact, did searches of databases of the president's public remarks. The quote that "People are dying who have never died before," appears in none of them. Nor did Trump, who takes to Twitter often to make public statements, tweet these words.

Simply put, the quote was fabricated, and social media appears to be the platform for a viral hoax.

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  Eric Ferkenhoff

Eric Ferkenhoff has been a reporter, editor and professor for 27 years, working chiefly out of the Midwest and now the South. Focusing on the criminal and juvenile justice systems, education and politics, Ferkenhoff has won several journalistic and academic awards and helped start a fact-checking project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he continues to teach advanced reporting. Ferkenhoff also writes and edits for the juvenile justice site JJIE.org.


Read more about or contact Eric Ferkenhoff

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