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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke April 14, 2023

JFK Jr., who died more than two decades ago, isn’t in this video with then-President Donald Trump

If Your Time is short

  • John F. Kennedy Jr. died long before this video was recorded.
 

In the opening scene of a 2018 Netflix documentary called "Trump: An American Dream,"  then-President Donald Trump leaves the White House with his wife, Melania Trump.

Five years later, that scene is being used as evidence for the false claim that John F. Kennedy Jr., the son of former President John F. Kennedy, is alive. 

"JFK JR ALIVE," reads the text above a video shared April 8 on Facebook. The voice of someone filming the show with their phone can be heard drawing attention to two people sitting across from Trump in the car. 

"JFK Jr. and his wife," the person says. 

A post sharing the video was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

We don’t know who was in that car with Trump, but it wasn’t Kennedy and his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. 

Kennedy, his wife and his sister-in-law were killed in a plane crash on July 16, 1999. Kennedy, then the founder and publisher of George magazine, was piloting a single-engine Piper Saratoga when it plunged into the Atlantic Ocean

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the crash probably happened after Kennedy, who was inexperienced at flying his plane alone at night, became disoriented in haze.  

Their bodies were recovered in seas southwest of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, on July 21, 1999, after a recovery team of U.S. Navy divers searched the ocean floor for about 18 hours, The Washington Post reported at the time. Kennedy’s body was found in the cockpit, still strapped to his seat. 

Their cremated remains were scattered at sea. 

Claims that Kennedy is alive and aligned with Trump stem from QAnon, and some of the movement’s adherents hope that he will be on the 2024 presidential ticket with Trump. But that’s impossible — he’s dead.

We rate this post Pants on Fire!

 

Our Sources

Facebook post, April 8, 2023

The Washington Post, Bodies of Kennedy, Bessettes Brought to Shore, July 22, 1999

CNN, Remains of JFK Jr., wife and sister-in-law buried at sea, July 22, 1999

The New York Times, Safety board blames pilot error in crash in Kennedy plane, July 7, 2000

The New York Times, Bodies from Kennedy crash are found, July 22, 1999

TikTok post, April 12, 2023

Politico, Trump superfans dream of a run again, and of JFK Jr. on the ticket, Jan. 17, 2022

Netflix, Trump: An American Dream, 2018

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More by Ciara O'Rourke

JFK Jr., who died more than two decades ago, isn’t in this video with then-President Donald Trump

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