Fact Check: Trump Is NOT Selling Holy Oil To Raise Funds For His Legal Bills

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Trump Is NOT Selling Holy Oil To Raise Funds For His Legal Bills It's A Joke

Is Donald Trump selling holy oil to raise money to cover his legal costs as a defendant in dozens of lawsuits? No, that's not true: The comment about holy oil was a sarcastic remark by TV commentator Al Sharpton about Trump's legal and financial problems, rather than a statement of fact. Sharpton made the joke on MSNBC host Joy Reid's show on March 21, 2024, as video from the episode shows.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Facebook on March 21, 2024. It opened:

Carrot top, rtump, is reduced to selling holy oil to his evangelical base to raise funds for his legal bills.

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

Screen Shot 2024-03-22 at 3.09.28 PM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Mar 22 21:54:41 2024 UTC)

The post does not cite a source for its claim, but Breitbart News reported on Sharpton's comments as if it were fact, with the headline, "Sharpton: Trump Will Be 'Selling Blessed Oil Before This Is Over,' (archived here). The story did not include a description of Sharpton's tone, the context of his comment or the fact that the panel of guests laughed at his comment. A recording of Sharpton's remark makes plain that it was not a statement that the former president was selling holy oil but a sarcastic comment.

At the 9:33 mark in a video from the March 21, 2024, episode of "The ReidOut," posted on YouTube (archived here), Joy Reid, the host of the show, asks Sharpton whether he's surprised that Trump, in her words, "seems embarrassed" to declare bankruptcy after being ordered to pay $454 million as a penalty in a fraud case (archived here).

Sharpton responds about Trump having difficulty paying his debts. As Trump himself has indicated, Sharpton said that the former president was trying without luck to find people to "lend him the money" -- a reference to bond insurers, who guarantee that a defendant appealing a ruling can pay the penalty already imposed by a court. At the 10:40 mark in the video, Sharpton makes the joke about Trump, comparing him to a con-man preacher:

So now he's down to ... you know, when I was a boy preacher, it was nothing for a con man to pitch a tent and claim Hallelujah. Now he's down to tent revivals in Florida. I mean, he's pitching a tent and revival. Maybe he'll be selling blessed oil before this is over.

Clearly, Sharpton did not say that Trump was actually selling "holy oil," and the other people on the panel laughed at his comment.

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

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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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