An old quote falsely attributed to Donald Trump has recently resurfaced online. The viral meme alleges Trump told People magazine in 1998 that Republicans are “the dumbest group of voters in the country”. This is false.
The meme reads: “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. - Donald Trump, People Magazine, 1998”
People magazine has confirmed in the past that its archive has no register of this alleged exchange.
“People looked into this exhaustively when it first surfaced back in Oct. (2015). We combed through every Trump story in our archive. We couldn’t find anything remotely like this quote–and no interview at all in 1998.”, a magazine spokesperson told Factcheck.org that year ( here ).
People’s magazine archive shows Trump did appear in the publication in the 1990s, but the coverage was mostly centered on his personal relationships ( here , here , here ). On September 2, 1987, shortly after releasing a full-page newspaper ad criticizing U.S. foreign policy, Trump identified himself as a Republican during an interview with CNN’S Larry King ( youtu.be/A8wJc7vHcTs?t=24 ). Trump also explicitly told King that he had no interest in running for president ( youtu.be/A8wJc7vHcTs?t=297 ).
In December 1987, People published a profile on Donald Trump titled “Too Darn Rich”. The article quoted him saying he was too busy to run for president ( here ).
Most iterations of the meme feature a photo of Trump during an interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1988, when he said he would probably not run for president but wouldn’t rule it out ( youtu.be/SEPs17_AkTI?t=55 ).
While other articles and interviews from the late 1980s and 1990s show Trump did publicly speak about his political affiliations and the possibility of running for office ( here ), there is no evidence of him ever saying the alleged quote or making any similar statement.
False. Trump did not say Republicans were “the dumbest group of voters”. This debunked meme has been circulating online since 2015.
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