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Emily Venezky
By Emily Venezky July 22, 2020

No evidence Trump actually said this during pandemic

If Your Time is short

  • This quote can only be found in two opinion pieces that were originally published by the News-Times in Connecticut.

  • Trump didn’t say this quote on the two dates the opinion pieces claimed he did, and there is no evidence he’s ever said it. 

  • The newspaper has clarified its post to say it cannot confirm the quote.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, President Donald Trump has fixated on gratitude from state leaders and a lack of positive news coverage of his administration’s response.

"We've done a fantastic job," Trump said at a press conference in March. "The only thing we haven't done well is to get good press. We've done a fantastic job but it hasn't been appreciated."

A few weeks later, Trump said that Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., had thanked his administration for building temporary hospitals. And in April, Trump made a point to bring up that Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., publicly thanked him for supplying ventilators and COVID-19 tests, while the media had given him "very little credit for the great job."

Yes, Trump would like some credit. But a recent post on Facebook that includes "an actual Trump quote" similar to these comments didn’t really happen.

The quote from Ridin’ With Biden, a Facebook group started by Occupy Democrats, reads as follows:

"Everybody says I’ve done a tremendous job with COVID. My leadership has been extraordinary, best in history. My quick actions have all but wiped out the virus, saving millions of lives, and I’ve got the economy ready to roar back to better than ever before. I think a little gratitude would be nice. Maybe a big ‘Thank you Mr. President’ is called for."

Below the quote is a banner that says "Trump thinks we should thank him for 137,000 dead." 

There is no evidence that Trump ever said this exact quote. We searched Nexis (which compiles news reports from across the world), Factba.se (a website that tracks Trump’s public comments), and the White House website to see if Trump ever said this in a tweet, news interview, or press conference.

Searching for excerpts of this quote leads to two opinion pieces about what Trump has said about COVID-19, published on many local news sites.

Featured Fact-check

The News-Times and The Norwalk Hour first published these pieces. Because both newspapers are part of the Hearst Newspaper group, these articles became part of their common digital publishing system and exist on other Hearst sites.

Both articles are composed of Trump quotes that have been collected and listed by date. They were written by Gail Lehmann, a Ridgefield, Conn., resident who has been documenting Trump "in his own words" about the pandemic and protests since March.

Lehmann told PolitiFact that her opinion pieces listing Trump quotes were first created to keep track of what the president said, like a "time capsule," and didn’t have any partisan intent.

Lehmann’s two opinion pieces with the "gratitude" Trump quote were published two months apart. The July 14 opinion piece stated the quote was from July 13. The May 12 opinion piece repeated the same quote, saying it was from May 7.

Trump didn’t say this quote at any public appearances on these days. He also didn’t tweet it. 

Lehmann explained in a phone call that she usually tracks tweets and that she may have published the quote twice if it was retweeted. Now she can’t find the quote anywhere except on a "great quotes" page.

On July 22, Jacky Smith, the Hearst editorial page editor, told us that a clarification was issued in The Norwalk Hour and The News-Times that they "have been unable to confirm this quote."

Our ruling

The Facebook post claims Trump asked for "gratitude" for how he has dealt with COVID-19 and said "maybe a big ‘thank you Mr. President’ is called for." 

The quote originates from two opinion pieces that attribute the quote to two different dates. There is no evidence that Trump said this quote. We rate this False.

Our Sources

Ridin’ With Biden page, accessed on July 20, 2020

PolitiFact, Occupy Democrats Checks, accessed on July 20, 2020

Facebook post, July 13, 2020

San Antonio Express-News, President Trump, in his own words, on the pandemic, July 14, 2020

Times-Union, Opinion: Direct quotes by the president on the pandemic, May 12, 2020

The Ridgefield Press, President Trump, in his own words, on the pandemic, July 14, 2020

The News-Times, President Trump, in his own words, on the pandemic, July 14, 2020 

The News-Times, Opinion: Direct quotes by the president on the pandemic, May 12, 2020

The White House, Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force in Press Briefing, March 17, 2020 

PolitiFact, Fact-checking Donald Trump's talking points about the economy, July 27, 2018

Email exchange with Marc Duvoisin, editor-in-chief at San Antonio Express-News, July 16, 2020

Factbase, Transcript Quote - Press Conference: Donald Trump Holds the Daily Coronavirus Pandemic Briefing, April 23, 2020

Factbase, Transcript Quote - Press Conference: Donald Trump Joins the Daily Coronavirus Pandemic Briefing, March 29, 2020 

AllGreatQuotes.com, Donald Trump Quotes, accessed on July 21, 2020 

Phone interview with Gail Lehmann, opinion writer, on July 21, 2020

Email exchange with Jacky Smith, Hearst editorial page editor, on July 22, 2020

Pressreader, The Norwalk Hour: 2020-07-22 - CLARIFICATION, July 22, 2020

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No evidence Trump actually said this during pandemic

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