In December 2016, rumors flew about Donald Trump’s personal beliefs and connections as he continued to announce picks for his incoming administration. One such rumor was a meme with a quote that purported to be from the President-elect, painting him as a flat-earther:
Trump never said this. The phrase originated with a hoax news article that was published on 31 September 2016, and came from a web site that was mocked up to look like a legitimate news page:
Speaking to reporters in Baltimore on Monday, following the 138th conference for the National Guard Association of the United States, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee revealed that he is a member of a growing population known generally as flat earth truthers.
“I fly a lot, and I mean a lot. No one flies more than me. Listen, I own a jet. I own a 757, beautiful plane, it’s the best plane! If the world were round, believe me, I would know!”
The comments came in response to a question from AP reporter, Charles Darr, regarding the future role of the National Guard, as private companies proliferate space travel. “Mr. Trump, if elected, are you willing to increase taxes in order to meet the growing budget demands of the National Guard, as existential threats from our enemies grow along with the advancement of space travel technology?” Darr asked.
The presidential hopeful replied that such a future is “nonsense,” adding that “the round earth people, and you know who they are, these people have an agenda.”
CNN.com.de (like many pages of its ilk) is not affiliated with the legitimate news organization CNN. The site uses a web address similar to CNN.com’s in order to trick readers into believe that they are reading genuine news items. However, this web site does not publish factual stories.
While there is no disclaimer on the web site that specifically states its content is fictional, it does provide several hints that its stories are hoaxes. For instance, the provided contact number of (785) 273-0325 does not lead to CNN’s, but that of the Westboro Baptist Church.