Fact Check: Trump NEVER Tweeted in 2009 About Americans Dying in Pandemic

Fact Check

  • by: Mary Acosta

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: Trump NEVER Tweeted in 2009 About Americans Dying in Pandemic Fake Tweet

Did Donald Trump claim in a 2009 tweet that he would "never let thousands of Americans die from a pandemic while in office" amidst the so-called swine flu, or H1N1, pandemic during the Barack Obama presidency? No, that's not true: A fake tweet containing that claim is being shared thousands of times on Facebook and other social media.

One of the many Facebook posts was published April 16, 2020 (archived here), on the page belonging to James Alexander Bond, with the commentary: "Another classic tTrump tweet come back to bite him on his pasty fat ass."

This is what the post, with at least 237 shares, looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

The text of the fake tweet, ostensibly published on November 23, 2009, read:

Obama's handling of this whole pandemic has been terrible! As President, ALL responsibility becomes yours during a crisis like this, whether or not you're entirely to blame. John cCain, and for that matter myself, would never let thousands of Americans die from a pandemic while in office.

But according to the Trump Twitter Archive, Trump tweeted only three times in November of 2009, and none of those tweets -- found here, here and here -- was about pandemics. The first was about his Scotland golf course beginning construction:

The second was about a partnership for a new reality television series:

And the third was a Thanksgiving message to his followers:

A capture by the Internet Archive in January of 2010 also shows only those three tweets in November of 2009:

trumptweets.jpg

In addition to that, Twitter only started experimenting with tweets over 140 characters in 2017. So, this tweet could never have been pubished prior to that time. In fact, at 290 characters in length, the message wouldn't even fit on today's Twitter -- which allows up to 280 characters per tweet.

Updates:

  • 2020-04-20T11:10:00Z 2020-04-20T11:10:00Z
    Added relevant Internet Archive capture and information about Twitter character limits.

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Mary Acosta

Mary Acosta, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is a former copy editor at CNN International.

She was based at the network’s headquarters in Atlanta. Prior to working at CNNI she was a writer, writer-producer, and copy editor at CNN. She was part of teams that won Emmy Awards for coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 terror attacks.

Read more about or contact Mary Acosta

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