Fact Check

Donald Trump: 'Abraham Lincoln Was a Dishonest Traitor'

An audio clip of Donald Trump calling Abraham Lincoln a dishonest traitor is a fabricated compilation of sound snippets from a campaign speech.

Published July 20, 2016

Image courtesy of Instagram
Donald Trump called Abraham Lincoln a traitor.

On 28 May 2016, a YouTube clip purportedly capturing audio of GOp presidential candidate Donald Trump describing President Abraham Lincoln as "dishonest" and a "traitor" hit the online world:

Abraham Lincoln. He's very dishonest. Unbelievably dishonest. A traitor. A no good, dirty rotten traitor. You're a traitor. You're shot. Very, very dishonest. Bad guy. He's a bad guy. How about the Gettysburg address? You know, I'm gonna say stiff, horrible, bad speech. No good. Nope, not good. Didn't do a good job. Now we have our president come in. Our great unifier. Gonna unify our country, right? Except, he turned out to be the great divider. Did you ever see anyone so divisive as this? Did you ever see someone so divisive?

Bing bong bang and dat. You get shot. That's fine. I'm happy about that. You get shot, right. Abraham Lincoln. So totally dishonest. So dishonest. I hate that person. He did not read 'The Art of the Deal'.

The clip was not accompanied by any information about where and when Trump reportedly made these comments, with its description simply stating that the audio was an "exclusive recording unearthed" by Edison Starkweather, a YouTube user whose only other video is one that criticizes Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The audio in the clip has been manipulated. The voice belongs to Donald Trump, but the creator of this video spliced together various snippets from a Trump speech to make it seem as the candidate were dissing Honest Abe.

The majority of the audio was taken from a speech that Donald Trump delivered in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on 12 November 2015. In that speech, Trump called the media "dishonest, unbelievably dishonest," said that President Obama was a "great divider," and opined that Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl was a "traitor" who should have been shot. Trump also name-checked Abraham Lincoln in his speech, saying that if he (Trump) had delivered the Gettysburg Address, the press would have panned it as "no good."

These sound clips were edited together to create the final product:

  • Trump called the media "dishonest, unbelievably dishonest" at 34:29.
  • "Bing bong and dat" at 36:44.
  • "Now we have our president come in. Our great unifier. President Obama. He's going to unify our country. Except, he turned out to be the great divider. Did you ever see anyone so divisive as this?" at 47:10.
  • Bowe Bergdahl is a "traitor. A no good dirty rotten traitor ... You're a traitor. You're shot." at 23:20.
  • "If I were Abraham Lincoln. Who was a great orator, actually. So they say. Who the hell knows, I didn't get to watch him. If I were Abraham Lincoln and I gave the greatest remarks you've ever heard, how about the Gettysburg address. I'll do something like that. But no good. Didn't do a good job. If my name was Trump. If my name was Honest Abe, it's the greatest thing he's ever heard. "  at 33:10

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.