A story on the website Pro Conservative News snatched a compliment about President Donald Trump from the mouth of U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch and said it came from basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.
The Dec. 10 headline includes an awkwardly worded alleged quote by the basketball star: "Shaquille O’Neal says: ‘Trump is possibly the best president of the president of all times ever, he is not afraid to...’
Facebook users flagged the post as being potentially fabricated, as part of the social network’s efforts to combat fake news. We found no evidence that O’Neal made that statement.
The story started with a quote by Hatch that Trump had "been one of the best presidents" he ever served under.
That was followed by a supposed quote by O’Neal:
"I don’t pay much attention to his tweets. I’ll say this for you. He’s been one of the best presidents I’ve served under. And the reasoning is, he’s not afraid to make decisions. He’s not afraid to take on the -- the big mouths around here."
In reality, a video of Hatch showed that he was the one who made that statement after he was asked about Trump’s tweets in November. (Hatch, a Utah Republican, announced Jan. 2 that he will not seek re-election.)
We did find real examples of O’Neal talking about Trump optimistically. Before the 2016 election, O’Neal referred to Trump as his friend but suggested he tweak his language.
"I think if he could reword some of the things he says and put it in business form, it would really make sense," O’Neal said, according to a video posted in 2015. "Donald is like a straight-up guy."
In November 2016 after Trump won, O’Neal said on TNT that "everyone was in shock" about the outcome but that he hoped Trump would bring people together.
"It’s kind of hard to believe that a guy with no political experience is the president of the United States," O’Neal said, calling for the public to give Trump a chance to do his job.
We sent a message to Pro Conservative News on Facebook and did not get a reply.
The headline stated that O’Neal said Trump "is possibly the best president." This fake news story appeared to take a quote from Hatch and attribute it to O’Neal. It was Hatch who said of Trump "he’s been one of the best presidents I’ve served under."
We rate this claim Pants on Fire.