Stand up for facts and support PolitiFact.

Now is your chance to go on the record as supporting trusted, factual information by joining PolitiFact’s Truth Squad. Contributions or gifts to PolitiFact, which is part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Poynter Institute, are tax deductible.

More Info

I would like to contribute

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks before she signs the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. (Associated Press) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks before she signs the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. (Associated Press)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks before she signs the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. (Associated Press)

Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman April 17, 2020

Nancy Pelosi didn’t call Social Security recipients ‘leeches’

If Your Time is short

  • Pelosi never called Social Security recipients “leeches” or said that they were “burdens on society.” The quote was made-up by a supposed satirical website.

According to the internet, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi allegedly said that Social Security recipients are "leeches," and social media posts that share the quote are calling for users to "make it go viral."

There’s just one issue. She didn’t say it.

The abrasive statement was fabricated by a website that says it posts satire and then re-shared on Facebook as if it were real news.

Although the satirical story was published in November 2019, Facebook text posts claiming she said it started to appear on the social network in April 2020.

These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

Featured Fact-check

The made-up statement was posted by Bustatroll.org, a website known for publishing fictional content in the name of satire, in a Nov. 14, 2019, story titled "Pelosi: ‘Social Security Recipients Are Just A Burden On Society.’"

The article falsely claims that Pelosi called Social Security recipients "leeches" who "suck from the public teat" and are "nothing more than burdens on society."

RELATED: If you're fooled by fake news, this man probably wrote it

The website contains a disclaimer that says, "Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined."

However, these articles are frequently copied to other websites, or in this case, social media posts, that don't include any indication that the information was made-up.

We rate this Pants on Fire!

Our Sources

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Samantha Putterman

Nancy Pelosi didn’t call Social Security recipients ‘leeches’

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up