Christmas has arrived early for retirees thanks to President Donald Trump, at least according to an article making the rounds on Facebook.
"President Trump just saved Christmas for 13 million retirees," read a Nov. 24, 2017, headline on the website Reaganwasright.com.
The story claimed that millions of retirees will get letters from the IRS "informing them that President Trump has declared them the recipients of a Christmas stimulus to offset the horrible performance of this year’s Black Friday."
If this story seems too good to be true, it is.
The story comes from a website associated with a self-described liberal troll who says he tries to fool conservatives with fake stories most people would find absurd. We found the story about a senior stimulus after Facebook users flagged the post as being potentially fabricated, as part of the social network’s efforts to combat fake news.
The fake story says that to qualify for the stimulus, recipients must be over 65, retired, receive Social Security and have an income under $40,000 per year. "The letter will also come with an offer to pledge support for President Trump, a requirement the Attorney General says is perfectly legal and patriotic, though not fully enforceable," stated the article.
The article then directed readers to call the White House switchboard if they don’t receive the letter. (The number printed in the article and it is indeed the switchboard.)
Reaganwasright.com describes itself as a satirical website that uses "humor, irony, exaggeration, OR ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues."
The about us page links to the Facebook page of America’s Last Line of Defense, which is run by Christopher Blair, a Maine man behind who we’ve written about previously. Blair told us his websites are carefully curated social experiment designed to "feed the Hoverounders their daily need for hate and their undying urge to blame everything in the known universe on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama."
They’re also a vehicle to make money. The point, of course, is to get someone on Facebook to click on the post thinking it is real. "I discovered that Facebook following plus blog plus ads equals income," Blair told us previously.
In this case, the Reaganwasright Facebook post includes an innocuous headline, "President Trump just saved Christmas for 13 million retirees," and a caption that asks people to share the post 1,000 times to show appreciation for Trump. As of this writing, it had been shared 768 times.
We rate this claim Pants on Fire.