A tweet went viral over the Memorial Day weekend holiday, which purported to quote President Trump as stating in Tokyo that “Kim Jung Un is smarter and would make a better president than Sleepy Joe Biden.”
The tweet came from Ian Bremmer, a journalist and college professor. Bremmer is a Time magazine contributing editor who founded the Eurasia Group, has authored multiple books about foreign policy, and teaches at New York University. Bremmer is not a comedian or satirist, and he’s the sort of person who, in presenting himself as a journalist, will normally be given the benefit of the doubt when sharing a direct quote from the president of the United States.
In this case, however, it was not. When the tweet itself was questioned, Bremmer first defended it, calling it “plausible,” per Fox News, but deleted both the original tweets and his replies soon afterward. But not before numerous major accounts, including Rep. Ted Lieu of California, had spread the fake quotation from the president.
After he was trashed by many- including the president himself- Bremmer on Monday admitted the quote was fake and apologized.
“My tweet yesterday about Trump preferring Kim Jong Un to Biden as President was meant in jest,” Bremmer tweeted. “The President correctly quoted me as saying it was a ‘completely ludicrous’ statement. I should have been clearer. My apologies.”
Trump, earlier in the weekend, had referenced the Bremmer tweet, calling it “fake news,” and again stating his interest in changing libel laws to make it easier for him to sue journalists.
— The Hill (@thehill) May 27, 2019
The president had indeed been tweeting about Biden in conjunction with North Korea, and stated in a tweet prior to the weekend that Kim had “smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse.” But the quote about the president preferring the North Korean dictator to the former vice president was not genuine.
Biden has been critical of Trump in early campaign speeches for cozying up to “tyrants,” including the North Korean dictator.
It is notable that following the Bremmer tweet, most journalists and ethicists, including those strongly opposed to the president, were highly critical of Bremmer, with some apologizing for having shared the quote when they thought it was real.
Historian Kevin Kruse told Bremmer to delete the tweet, while numerous others chided the journalist for making legitimate opposition to the president more difficult.