Donald Trump complains frequently that stories critical of him are “fake news,” but apparently, the president is quick to fall for actual fake news when it praises him.
This week, the president appeared to have seen a fake news story that the protesters taking to the streets in France to speak out against raising gas taxes. As France 24 reported, this appeared to start with a conservative pundit named Charlie Kirk, who claimed that the protesters were calling for Donald Trump.
“‘We want Trump’ being chanted through the streets of Paris,” Kirk tweeted, not offering any evidence of the alleged chants.
Kirk went on to say that left-leaning media was intentionally ignoring the story.
“There are riots in socialist France because of radical leftist fuel taxes. Media barely mentioning this,” he wrote. “America is booming, Europe is burning They want to cover up the middle class rebellion against cultural Marxism.”
As France 24 reported, fact-checkers from AFP determined that Kirk’s claim was “a textbook example of fake news,” with no reports that the protesters in France were calling for Donald Trump.
If Charlie Kirk was aiming to get a retweet from Donald Trump, it has worked. Trump mentioned his claim earlier this week, and again on Saturday repeated the very fake claim that protesters in France were showing some love to him.
The Paris Agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris. Protests and riots all over France. People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third world countries (that are questionably run), in order to maybe protect the environment. Chanting “We Want Trump!” Love France.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2018
Donald Trump actually has a long history of falling for fake news and has a penchant for sharing racially charged stories that critics say inflame anger among his base of white men. In the early days of his campaign, Trump shared a graphic claiming to show “black crime states” but actually used fake numbers, as detailed by Fact Check. The tweet drew a harsh backlash for Trump for trying to smear black people, especially after a political blog traced the image back to an admitted neo-Nazi.
In August of this year, Donald Trump was criticized for fuelling racial tensions after passing along false claims that white South African farmers were being forced off their land and killed.
The claim even prompted a response from the South African government, which took to Twitter to rebuke Trump.
“South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past,” the country said in a statement — via the Mail and Guardian. “South Africa will speed up the pace of land reform in a careful and inclusive manner that does not divide our nation.”
Donald Trump did not back off any of the previous claims and appears to be sticking to his fake news story about love from French protesters.