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Jason Asenso
By Jason Asenso July 9, 2021

Donald Trump did not congratulate Navy SEALs on Haiti assassination

If Your Time is short

  • Haiti President Jovenel Moïse was killed by unidentified gunmen in his home on July 7.

  • There is no evidence that former President Trump sent out a Telegram post, nor is there evidence that Navy SEALs had anything to do with the assassination of the Haitian president.

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his home on July 7. While the search for the suspects continues, an Instagram post claimed that former President Donald Trump congratulated the Navy seals for a "perfect beautiful whack."

An Instagram post from July 7, 2021, included a headline it claimed was from the New York Times that said, "In a now deleted Telegram post, Former President Donald Trump congratulated the Navy SEALs on a ‘perfect beautiful whack.’" The post also claimed, "President Biden fears the assassination spells the end of America’s centuries old policy of allowing the Haitian people to exercise absolute self-determination."

We decided to fact-check this claim.

Moïse was killed in his home by multiple gunmen. Moïse’s wife Martine was shot and injured.

The gunmen identified themselves as agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, before entering the property, Haitian ambassador to the U.S. Bocchit Edmond told Reuters.

In a July 7 State Department briefing, spokesperson Ned Price condemned the allegations that the assasination was carried out by DEA agents. "These reports are absolutely false. The United States condemns this heinous act," Price said at the briefing. "These false reports are nothing more than that, just false reports."

Moïse was the source of much controversy in Haiti during his presidency. In recent months, protesters demanded Moïse’s resignation after disputes about when his term was set to expire. Moïse insisted that his term would end on Feb. 7, 2022, because of delays in his swearing in, while opponents pushed for his ousting.

Moïse had ruled by decree since 2020 after the country failed to hold parliamentary elections.In February, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jeffrey DeLaurentis emphasized "the need to bring the current period of rule by decree to a swift conclusion."

Featured Fact-check

International politics notwithstanding, there is no evidence that Trump sent out a Telegram post about the events in Haiti. President Trump has no history of using Telegram to relay messages to the public. We asked his office for a comment but have yet to receive a response.

There is concern that the assassination can lead to instability in Haiti, but the headline highlighting Biden’s concern for Haiti’s self-determination was not published by the New York Times.

The Instagram post was apparently doctored: When reached for comment, the New York Times said that it did not write or publish either of the headlines in the screenshot. 

The suspected gunmen may have identified themselves as agents from the DEA, but there is no evidence that Navy SEALs killed Moïse.

A spokesperson from the Navy said, "Regarding the Navy SEALs, these claims are false. They are wholly fabricated without any basis in fact."

In a statement, President Joe Biden condemned the assassination, and said, "The United States offers condolences to the people of Haiti, and we stand ready to assist as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti."

Our ruling

An Instagram post claimed that former President Trump congratulated Navy SEALs on their "perfect beautiful whack" of the Haitian president. 

There is no evidence that Trump said any such thing. There’s also no evidence that Navy SEALs had any role in Moïse’s death, and the post making the claim used doctored headlines.

We rate this claim False.

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Donald Trump did not congratulate Navy SEALs on Haiti assassination

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