Fact Check: Trump Did NOT Revoke All of Hillary's Privileges as Former First Lady

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Trump Did NOT Revoke All of Hillary's Privileges as Former First Lady Fiction

Did President Trump revoke all of Hillary Clinton's privileges as former first lady? No, that is not true. A story has gone viral claiming Donald Trump yanked away any privileges Hillary Clinton would have as the wife of former President Bill Clinton, but the story is completely made up -- a fictional story. It was posted on Bustatroll.org, where it's noted, "Everything on this website is fiction."

The story appeared as an article published by Bustatroll.org on May 14, 2020, titled "Trump Revokes All of Hillary's Privileges as Former First Lady" (archived here) which opened:

As a former First Lady, Hillary Clinton was given many privileges and perks by the government. Some of these perks include access to the White House, free food and drink, free medical care, and $20,000 a month for life. Unfortunately for her, it looks like her free ride is coming to an abrupt end, thanks to President Trump.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Trump Revokes All of Hillary's Privileges as Former First Lady

Hillary Clinton is a traitor and deserves this.

As a former first lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton is eligible for up to $500,000 a year in travel expenses. She also benefits from the lifetime protection by the U.S. Secret Service protection given to her husband, health benefits (given to presidents who serve five years or more), and office space and staffing allowances, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

The site is part of the "America's Last Line of Defense" network of satire websites run by self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair from Maine along with a loose confederation of friends and allies. He runs several websites and Facebook pages with visible satire disclaimers everywhere. They mostly publish made-up stories with headlines specifically created to trigger Republicans, conservatives and evangelical Christians into angrily sharing or commenting on the story on Facebook without actually reading the full article, exposing them to mockery and ridicule by fans of the sites and pages.

Every site in the network has an about page that reads (in part):

About Satire
Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with "comedy":

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.

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.

Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites who omit the satire disclaimer and other hints the stories are fake. One of the most persistent networks of such sites is run by a man from Pakistan named Kashif Shahzad Khokhar (aka "DashiKashi") who has spammed hundreds of such stolen stories into conservative and right-wing Facebook pages in order to profit from the ad revenue.

When fact-checkers point this out to the people liking and sharing these copycat stories some of them get mad at the fact-checkers instead of directing their anger at the foreign spammers or the liberal satire writers. Others send a polite "thank you" note, which is much appreciated.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes bustatroll.org as:

One in a network of sites that publish false stories and hoaxes that are often mistaken for real news, 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.

This is the description of Trump revoking Hillary's privileges offered in the story:

President Trump issued an executive order today, nullifying Clinton's status as a former First Lady, thus removing all of the perks that come with it.

The link for the word "nullifying" goes to a page with an animated GIPHY that says "the dumbest shit I ever saw."

The article continues:

President Trump gave these remarks to the media about the order:
"Hillary Clinton is the worst person in America. She talks very bad about me. She says nasty things. She's like Obama. Yeah, that Obama is real bad. He says horrible things about me. I would never do that. Why should Hillary get access to the White House and all these perks? She's a traitor as far as I'm concerned and many people agree with me, many people okay. She's part of the deep state and a traitor, take her away!"

The website had a quote from "Republican Joe Barron," which is a name the site often uses in its fictional stories, with a Democrat named Joe Barron previously written about on another site in the group, claiming he was infected with COVID-19 and was planning to get as close as possible to Trump to infect him with coronavirus.

Republican Joe Barron praised the executive order:

"This is great news! Donald Trump knows what's best for our country, and if he says Hillary needs to lose her perks, then she needs to lose them. I would never question our President. That's what they would do in a democracy, and we are a republic, which means we have a King. His name is Donald Trump."

The story ends with this:

Rumor has it that Clinton will be selling more uranium to Iran in order to make up for the lost income resulting from Trump's order. This will open her up to more federal charges, and maybe she will be taken down once and for all. As always Trump is playing 4D chess against her.
Hillary Clinton is a traitor and we are glad to see some fictitious revenge taken against her. This time it will actually be her downfall. We promise.

What exactly are the perks of a former first lady? LeadStories took a look at what Hillary Clinton, would currently be eligible for:

All living former presidents and their spouses are entitled to receive lifetime Secret Service protection. This would apply to Hillary as the wife of the 42nd president.

She is also eligible for health care as the spouse of a former president.

"Provided that they had been enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program for at least five years, former presidents are eligible for health annuities, similar to all federal employees.

Hillary's security and travel expenses are also authorized up to $500,000 per year, ABC News reported here listing this bill as the source.

Hillary Clinton is still receiving all of these benefits as the story that Trump revoked the privileges is complete fiction.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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