Fact Check: Trump Did NOT Claim To Have Sparred With 'Cassius Clay' -- Story Came From Parody Account

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Trump Did NOT Claim To Have Sparred With 'Cassius Clay' -- Story Came From Parody Account Not Authentic

Did Donald Trump brag on social media about boxing sessions with Muhammad Ali, the now-deceased legendary athlete known as Cassius Clay in the early days of his career? No, that's not true: The former president's social media accounts didn't say anything about it. The account that initially shared an image of the supposed Trump post publicly stated that the story was made up.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) published on X, formerly known as Twitter, on January 18, 2024. It opened:

Wtf?🤬 This orange walking puke has gone too far. Mohammed Ali would have never spoken those words even before changing religions. An even greater insult is calling him Cassius Clay when he is not wt us any longer to defend his beliefs. Ali deserves respect! This boils my blood!

The post included what appeared to be a screenshot of another entry on social media saying:

The great Cassius Clay used to
spar with me. Not many people
know that because I don't like to
boast. He could never hit me,
though - have you ever seen
bruises on my face? No bruises.
He used to say: 'Sir, you are a
great dancer, probably the best
there has ever been. Also, thank
you, sir, for sparring with a black
man.' He had tears in his eyes
that day.

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-01-24 at 10.45.07 AM.png

Twitter screenshot(Source: X screenshot taken on Wed Jan 24 15:45:07 2024 UTC)

The "screenshot" referred to Muhammad Ali, who died in 2016, by his birthname: Cassius Clay (archived here).

A reverse image search shows that the "screenshot" started to circulate online on January 17, 2024, and the earliest post (archived here) published on that day came from an account on X (archived here) that described itself as containing "traces of satire, parody and nuts."

On the next day, the account wrote in the comment section that the "screenshot" was not real:

Screen Shot 2024-01-24 at 12.04.42 PM.png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Wed Jan 24 17:04:42 2024 UTC)

As of this writing, Trump's social media accounts on Truth Social (archived here) and on X (archived here) did not contain the post in question. Lead Stories checked saved versions of them archived on January 17, 2024, and January 18, 2024, but found no indication that the former president wrote what social media claimed he did.

As The New York Times (archived here) previously reported, Trump and Ali had known each other for decades and frequently attended each other's public events before Trump entered politics. Had the claim been true, it would have been covered by the media at some point, given that both Trump and Ali were well-known figures at the time. However, a Google search (archived here) doesn't produce relevant results confirming that. Had Trump posted what social media attributed to him during his third presidential campaign, news coverage would have mentioned the purported statement. But there were no such reports (archived here).

Other Lead Stories fact checks about Donald Trump can be found here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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