Bette Midler apologized on Monday after posting a fake quote attributed to Donald Trump where he purportedly disparaged Republican voters in a 1998 People Magazine interview.
“I apologize; this quote turns out to be a fake from way back in ’15-16. Don’t know how I missed it, but it sounds SO much like him that I believed it was true!,” the singer/actress said on Twitter.
I apologize; this quote turns out to be a fake from way back in ’15-16. Don’t know how I missed it, but it sounds SO much like him that I believed it was true! Fact Check: Did Trump say in ’98 Republicans are dumb? https://t.co/NY9s6V49el via @rgj
– Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) June 3, 2019
In addition to her apology, Midler also included a link to the Reno Gazette Journal debunking the quote. It read, “If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific.”
The photo accompanying the quote shows a younger Trump — around the time he was a real estate developer in New York City and long before he became a political candidate.
Despite her apology, Midler has not deleted the original tweet, which has racked up more than 12,000 retweets on the social media platform. “He certainly knew his crowd,” she snarked in the caption. Midler wasn’t the only one to fall for the fake quote. Even serious journalists picked it up, including former Gizmodo chief and Columbia Journalism School professor Raju Narisetti.
The meme’s providence dates back to at least 2015 when Snopes, a liberal-leaning fact-checking website, fact-checked the quote and proved it was false.
“Despite People’s comprehensive online content archive, we found no interview or profile on Donald Trump in 1998 (or any other time) that quoted his saying anything that even vaguely resembled the words in this meme,” Snopes reported. “Trump appeared somewhat regularly in the magazine’s pages before he came to star on ‘The Apprentice,’ but the bulk of the magazine’s celebrity-driven coverage of him back then centered on his marriages to, and divorces from, Ivana Trump and Marla Maples.”