Dr. Henry Kissinger, the 95-year-old foreign policy expert who served as a national security adviser and secretary of state under two presidents, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, predicted after the 2016 election that Donald Trump could go down in history as "a very considerable president."
He made the remark during an interview on the CBS public affairs program Face the Nation, during which he also said, according to some sources:
Donald Trump is a phenomenon that foreign countries haven’t seen before. Liberals and all those who favored Clinton will never admit it. They will never admit that he is the one true leader. The man is doing changes like never before and does all of it for the sake of this nation’s people. After eight years of tyranny, we finally see a difference.
Trump puts America and its people first. That is why people love him and this is why he will remain in charge for a long time. There is not a single thing wrong with him and people need to open their eyes.
High praise indeed from the likes of Henry Kissinger -- too high, in the judgment of some our readers, in fact, who have been writing to us since this effusive passage first began making the rounds in late 2017 to question its authenticity.
The Patriot Post, a right-leaning news and opinion web site, is typical of the sources purveying the quote. "I haven’t always been Henry Kissinger’s biggest fan," the author of a 20 January 2018 article containing the quote writes, "but I have to credit him with saying several things that seem to mean more when he says them than when I do."
Except that it's plain from the author's citation of the supposed source of the quote (another conservative web site called Liberty One News) that most of the words weren't actually Kissinger's. Here's how the passage was presented in that source:
Henry Kissinger is an American diplomat and political scientist who served as the United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon. He is one of the politicians who really understand politics and cares what people think about.
On Sunday he did an interview and said very amazing things regarding President Trump, UConservative reports. He starts with: "Donald Trump is a phenomenon that foreign countries haven’t seen."
Trump is indeed a strange phenomenon. From when he first started to campaign, he was willing to say and do the things all the other candidates were not. Once more Trump managed to survive the things other candidates were not able to.
Liberals and all those who favor Clinton will never admit it. They will never admit that he is the one true leader. The man is doing changes like never before and does all of it for the sake of this nation’s people. After eight years of tyranny, we finally see a difference. Kissinger knows it and he continues with:
"Every country now has to consider two things. One, their perception that the previous president, or the outgoing president, basically withdrew America from international politics, so that they had to make their own assessments of their necessities.
And secondly, that there is a new president who’s asking a lot of unfamiliar questions. And because of the combination of the partial vacuum and the new questions, one could imagine that something remarkable and new emerges out of it."
Note that the sentences in question fell outside the quotes surrounding Kissinger's actual statements. In point of fact, they were written (or borrowed) by the author of the piece, not uttered by the former Secretary of State.
To confirm this, we hunted down a transcript of Kissinger's 18 December 2016 appearance on Face the Nation. Although he does say, "Donald Trump is a phenomenon that foreign countries haven't seen" and could become "a very considerable president," Kissinger doesn't say, "They [Clinton supporters] will never admit that he is the one true leader," nor does he say, "There is not a single thing wrong with him." Nor have we been able to find these words attributed to Kissinger in any other reliable source.
Here is a video clip of the full Face the Nation interview:
We researched a variant of this claim in 2020.