In June 2016, a message reporting that GOP candidate Donald Trump was planning on shutting down the Library of Congress as a cost-saving measure if elected president began circulating via Facebook:
Such messages linked to a story that was originally posted on The Retroset web site:
As reported early this morning by CNN and HuffPost, Donald Trump, in a phone interview with Fox News’ Steve Doocy, claimed as President of the United States, he would seek to cut-out all unnecessary spending. When pressed for specifics, the GOP frontrunner dismissively quipped, “Well, I think we spend way too much on organizations and departments that just ‘save’ stuff. For instance, I’d make a move to get rid of the Library of Congress.”
Trump continued, “Y’know what? Old books, decomposing newspapers, pansy artwork and a bunch of black and white movies about women and illegal immigrants have no business being “protected” with our hard-earned tax dollars. My first act as President would be to dissolve wasteful branches of government like the Library and that Kennedy Center for Peforming Arts stuff, and sell the material to China for huge profits.”
The publication date of the Retroset article wasn’t obvious to those who encountered it via Facebook, but readers who clicked through to the original discovered that it appeared on 1 April 2016, otherwise known as April Fool’s Day.
The Retroset didn’t specifically state that the article was a springtime ruse, but the text incorporated several clues to its fictional nature. For instance, while The Retroset reported that CNN and the Huffington Post had both reported on Trump’s plan to shutter the Library of Congress, the embedded links they provided led to irrelevant articles on those sites.