Did Donald Trump Call Republican Voters Dumb?

Donald Trump | Timothy A. Clary/Getty Images

One political meme that has been widely shared and debated about Donald Trump was one where he allegedly announced if he ever ran for president, he’d run as a Republican because Republican voters  are “the dumbest group of voters in the country.”

Trump supposedly made this proclamation to People: “If I were to run [for president], 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 meme surfaced on Twitter and Facebook in October of 2015, according to Snopes, billed as being a statement delivered in 1998. So did he actually say it?

Here are some political statements actually Trump made

Snopes found some political statements Trump said, with this to Larry King in 1999: “I’m a registered Republican,” according to Snopes. “I’m a pretty conservative guy. I’m somewhat liberal on social issues, especially health care, et cetera.”

When King asked Trump if he agreed with the NRA, he said, “I don’t agree entirely, but I do agree you should have the power to have a weapon because other people do and other people are not necessarily the nicest people in the world.”

Trump said this about voters

King asked Trump about voters and how the Republican and Democrat base exists–what would he do [if he were to run]? Trump said,” I think what I get is I get the working base. I get the middle-class base. For some reason, those are the people who really like Donald Trump.”

So when did he make the reference to Republican voters?

Actually, Trump never made the statement that Republican voters were dumb, Snopes found. The fact-checking site scoured years of People’s database and found no evidence the statement was made.

He commented about politics to People Magazine, saying he was heavily sought by both parties. He also told Oprah Winfrey this about running for president, “Probably not,” The Huffington Post reports. “But I do get tired of seeing the country get ripped off… I just don’t think I have the inclination to do it.”

But added, “If it got so bad, I would never want to rule it out totally, because I really am tired of seeing what’s happening with this country. We’re really making other people live like kings, and we’re not.” And said, he’d win if he ran.

So, why the meme?

Some people believe creating falsities is their way to contribute to the political climate. “If enough people share and believe these fake quotes, then they can contribute to the polarisation of politics, making each side think less of the other, especially as many partisans think fake news is a problem which affects primarily (or only) their opponents,” James Ball of Buzzfeed News said to BBC News.

Ball adds that some people use fake quotes to bolster their social media following too. “Sometimes people just want new followers or shares on social media, and either invent a quote or (naively or otherwise) lift a questionable one,” he told BBC News. “Others invent quotes as a hoax or parody to show up people they disagree with, or to fire up their own side – or simply to make money from adverts on fake news sites.”

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