CLAIM

President Trump was the first U.S. president to visit the Western Wall.

MOSTLY TRUE

RATING

MOSTLY TRUE

WHAT'S TRUE

Donald Trump was the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall.

WHAT'S FALSE

Several other presidents have visited the Western Wall, but none of those trips occurred while they were in office.

ORIGIN

On 23 May 2017, news outlets such as NBC News and CNN reported that Donald Trump was the first sitting United States President to visit the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites, in Jerusalem:

President Donald Trump placed a note in the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Monday, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to visit one of Judaism’s holiest sites.

Trump later called it a “great honor” to visit the wall, saying, “I can see a much deeper path, friendship with Israel.”

The historic visit is part of Trump’s efforts to highlight “the need for unity among three of the world’s great religions” on his first foreign trip, senior administration officials said.

As this news circulated on social media, some of the details became obscured. For instance, the Facebook page Patriots for America USA shared an image of Trump at the wall along with a message claiming that he was the “first U.S. President” to visit the holy site:

Barack Obama visited the Western Wall when he was a presidential candidate in 2008; George W. Bush visited the site in 1998, years before becoming president; Bill Clinton visited the wall after leaving office; and George H.W. Bush visited the wall as well, though not while in office

Although Trump was the not the first president to visit the Western Wall, he was the first sitting president to do so. 

Sources:

Rafferty, Andrew.   “Trump Becomes First Sitting U.S. President to Visit Western Wall”
    NBC News.   23 May 2017.

McCarthy, Rory.   “Obama Makes Surprise Visit to Jerusalem’s Western Wall.”
    The Guardian.   24 July 2008.

Kornblut, Anne.   “The Bushes and the Jews.”
    Slate.   17 April 2002.