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- We could find no original source corroborating this attribution.
- The Virginia Military Institute Archives and the author of a book about Patton said it’s unlikely he said this.
Amid some conservative outrage over the results of the presidential election, an old social media post is gaining traction.
A photo shows Gen. George Patton standing in uniform, and overlaid is this quote attributed to the military leader: "Politicians are the lowest form of life on earth. Liberal Democrats are the lower form of politicians."
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Snopes, which previously looked into this attribution, found that it appeared in the 1983 book "The Unknown Patton" by Charles Province.
But the quote doesn’t have a citation in the book, which advises in its introduction that "while not all source material was taken literally into quotations or even utilized as pure textual content, they were used rather as background data to supply a feeling or understanding of a situation prior to writing about it."
"Politicians are the lowest form of life" appeared unattributed to Patton in a 1948 book by Stuart Chase called "The Proper Study of Mankind."
And in 1945, Harry Truman wrote in his diary that a man "was noted [as] an advanced ‘Liberal’ but not a professional one (I consider the latter the lowest form of politician)."
We reached out to the Virginia Military Institute Archives about the quote. Mary Laura Kludy, the archives and records management specialist, told us that the school has no record of Patton saying it.
"It is unlikely that it would have been from him," Kludy said.
Brain Sobel, a media and governmental relations consultant who wrote the 2013 book, "The Fighting Pattons," also told us that he’s never found any original source material showing that Patton said this.
"Patton did have a general disdain for politics and politicians, but was basically ambivalent about politics," Sobel said.
We couldn’t find any original source confirming that Patton said this, and people familiar with his words suspect he did not.
If evidence emerges that the attribution is accurate, we’ll reconsider our rating.
For now, it’s False.
Facebook post, Nov. 4, 2018
Britannica, George Patton, visited Dec. 4, 2020
Snopes, Patton pending, visited Dec. 4, 2020
Email interview with Mary Laura Kludy, archives and records management specialist, Virginia Military Institute, Dec. 4, 2020
Email interview with Brian Sobel, principal consultant, Sobel Communications, Dec. 4, 2020
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