Fact Check-Donald Trump statement calling Ron DeSantis a ‘RINO’ is fabricated

A fabricated statement attributed to former U.S. President Donald Trump, in which he purportedly threatens Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and calls him a “Republican in name only”, or RINO, stems from a satirical account.

The statement, which has been posted on Twitter (here) and Facebook (, ( reads, in part, “Ron DeSantis just outed himself as a ‘RINO’ by not defending me against the latest made up witch hunt.”

It started circulating after Trump said on March 18 that he expected to be arrested the following Tuesday, amid reports that New York prosecutors were considering charges relating to a hush money payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels (here).

Reuters has previously addressed statements falsely attributed to Trump amid rumors of an imminent indictment or arrest (here), (here).

Reuters found no evidence Trump made such a statement. No credible news outlets reported on the supposed story (, and searches through his website ( provided no results.

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The earliest iteration Reuters could find was posted on March 20 by @HalfwayPost, an account that shares satirical content and has the following written on its bio: “Dada news. Halfway true comedy by @DashMacIntyre. I don't report the facts, I improve them.” Reuters has previously debunked satirical claims that stemmed from this account (here), (here).

Another indication the statement is fabricated is that the logo at the top of the page replaces “President Donald J. Trump” with “President Doofy J. Trump.”

Although some users identified the fabricated statement as satire, other were duped into thinking it is legitimate (, (


Satire. A statement attributed to Trump threatening DeSantis and calling him a ‘RINO’ is fabricated.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work (here).