President Donald Trump has seared the phrase "fake news" into the cultural vernacular for decades to come, but all too often it's he who disseminates misrepresentations and blatant lies.
A tweet from Trump ahead of the first round of this week's public impeachment hearings against him was no different. The President shared a fake quote from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) regarding the electoral process.
In scrambling to discredit Democrats leading the impeachment charge against him, Trump falsely tweeted that Pelosi said it was "dangerous" to let voters decide Trump's fate.
Nancy Pelosi just stated that “it is dangerous to let the voters decide Trump’s fate.” @FoxNews In other words, sh… https://t.co/VCbR81xgCh— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1574140515.0
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Trump credited Fox News with spreading the quote. Even more unsurprisingly, the quote, paraphrased by Fox News's Mike Emanuel, is at best a misrepresentation of what Pelosi said.
The actual quote, from a "Dear Colleague" letter sent to the Democratic caucus at the beginning of this week, reads:
"The weak response to these hearings has been, 'Let the election decide.' That dangerous position only adds to the urgency of our action, because POTUS is jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections."
Pelosi was highlighting Trump's efforts to taint the 2020 election. He leveraged his position in the Oval Office to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation into Trump's potential 2020 opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. Therefore, "letting the election decide" as Trump's meddling with it goes unmitigated is what Pelosi was highlighting as dangerous, not the democratic process itself.
Actual journalists didn't let the fake quote go unchecked.
What Pelosi actually said: "The weak response to these hearings has been, 'Let the election decide.' That dangerou… https://t.co/wjUhzioBlC— Brian Stelter (@Brian Stelter) 1574140690.0
@realDonaldTrump @FoxNews No, she said that the crimes you’ve admitted to are jeopardizing the integrity of the 202… https://t.co/0cyiOUDgTo— Jonathan M. Katz✍🏻 (@Jonathan M. Katz✍🏻) 1574141973.0
That’s not what she said. She said this: "The weak response to these hearings has been, 'Let the election decide.'… https://t.co/fwqqzdQzfT— Jake Sherman (@Jake Sherman) 1574155351.0
When Adam Schiff paraphrased/dramatized Trump's call with Zelensky, the president called it treason and said Schiff… https://t.co/uPp1Im7XWo— Blake News (@Blake News) 1574160895.0
@realDonaldTrump @FoxNews No. What @SpeakerPelosi is saying is, it’s dangerous to allow a corrupt traitor like you… https://t.co/Hd31vMmnGu— Andy Ostroy (@Andy Ostroy) 1574165652.0
But it didn't take a journalist to call out the falsehood.
@realDonaldTrump @FoxNews Bubba, you have been involved in two election campaigns in your life. 2016 and this one,… https://t.co/4DUBGrb8hZ— David Rothkopf (@David Rothkopf) 1574156803.0
@realDonaldTrump @FoxNews NOT WHAT SHE SAID. READ THE TRANSCRIPT— David B. Landes (@David B. Landes) 1574173249.0
@realDonaldTrump @FoxNews The Nuker of Hurricanes, Raker of Forests, Buyer of Countries, Separator of Families... says someone ELSE is CRAZY— Byron Ricketts (@Byron Ricketts) 1574140778.0
@realDonaldTrump @FoxNews She’s defending our constitution. You are walking over it. Impeachment coming in a few weeks!— Nathaniel #CountryOverParty (@Nathaniel #CountryOverParty) 1574140571.0
Trump isn't expected to set the record straight any time soon.