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.
I would like to contribute
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.
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.)
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."
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!
Facebook post, April 9, 2020
WayBack Machine, BustaTroll, Pelosi: ‘Social Security Recipients Are Just A Burden On Society’, Nov. 14, 2019
Reuters, False claim: Nancy Pelosi calls Social Security recipients "leeches" or "burdens on society", April 16, 220
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.