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Fact check: Not all living former presidents warned against voting for Donald Trump in 2016

Users on Facebook are resharing a 2016 post that claimed “all living ex-presidents” at the time, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had warned people against voting for Donald Trump. This is partly false. George W. Bush and the now late George H.W. Bush did not endorse Donald Trump but they did not openly warn people not to vote for him.

Five former U.S. presidents, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama attend a concert at Texas A&M University benefiting hurricane relief efforts in College Station, Texas, U.S., October 21, 2017. REUTERS/Richard Carson

The image has regained attention in the run-up to this year’s presidential election. The post has been shared over 57,600 times since 2016 ( here ).

It reads: “Think about this for a minute, for the first time in the history of the United States, all living ex-presidents have united to warn Americans: no matter what, do not vote for Trump.”

(George H.W. Bush, the 41st U.S. president, died in 2018, here ).

REPUBLICANS

During the 2016 presidential race, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were among the prominent Republicans that did not endorse Donald Trump ( here ).

Their non-endorsement followed the unsuccessful candidacy for the Republican nomination by Jeb Bush, son of George H.W. Bush and brother of George W. Bush ( here ).

At the time, a spokesman for H.W Bush told the Guardian that at the age of 91 he was “retired from politics”. A spokesman for George W. Bush also said that he did not “plan to participate in or comment on the presidential campaign.” ( here )

As for the 2020 election, a spokesman for George W. Bush recently told The Hill here that Bush “is retired from presidential politics and will not be weighing in.”

DEMOCRATS

Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States, has spoken out against Trump in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential race and urged voters to choose the Democratic candidates ( here , here , here ).

In 2016, the 39th president of the United States Jimmy Carter criticized Trump for violating “some of the most important moral and ethical principles on which our nation was founded” and expressed his support for Hillary Clinton ( bit.ly/3gK002r ). During the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Carter also endorsed presidential candidate Joe Biden ( here ).

In 2016, 42nd president of the United States Bill Clinton urged voters to vote for his wife, Hillary Clinton ( here ). During this August’s Democratic National Convention, he warned that Trump’s re-election would bring “blame, bully, and belittle” and endorsed Joe Biden ( here ).

VERDICT

Partly False. George W. Bush and now late George H.W. did not endorse Donald Trump but they also did not warn people not to vote for him.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts  here  . 

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