In June 2022, we were asked by readers in our Snopes Tips Facebook group about a quote that appeared in a viral meme that was titled, “Fox News just asked Trump what he’d do differently from Biden on Ukraine.” According to the meme, former U.S. President Donald Trump once said the following:
Well what I would do, is I would, we would, we have tremendous military capability and what we can do without planes, to be honest with you, without 44-year-old jets, what we can do is enormous, and we should be doing it and we should be helping them to survive and they’re doing an amazing job.
We soon found evidence that this was indeed a real quote from the former president.
Viral on Social Media
The Trump quote had been shared online in several posts that received thousands of engagements. For example, progressive political commentator Brian Tyler Cohen once tweeted this shortened version of the quote:
The Origins of the Quote
In a series of questions, Varney asked Trump what he would do to help the situation in Ukraine. Trump provided the answer seen in the meme after Varney asked the question, “So, what do you do now? You said you’d maybe do more than just send in the MIG jets. All right. What more?”
The question and answer begins at the 3:04 mark in this YouTube video:
Drones and ‘the N-Word’
At the 4:49 mark in the video, Varney again pressed Trump about the invasion in Ukraine. “Well, let me press you again on what extra military help you would give to the Ukrainians,” Varney said. “You said you wanna do more than just the MiG jets or the javelins. What more?”
Trump answered Varney by mentioning an idea of using drones:
Well, I think that drones are just as effective as anything nowadays. I mean, they make drones today, we make, we have drones that are just as effective as just about anything in the air, anything you can do in the air, and you can do drones, plus they give back tremendous amounts of information, and the information leads missiles right to whatever the hell target they are (inaudible), you’d have to shoot them from Ukraine so therefore you’re being neutral. It’s so ridiculous.
Trump also later said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had used the “the n-word,” referring to the word “nuclear.” “But I listen to him constantly using the n-word,” Trump said. “That’s the n-word. And he’s constantly using it. The nuclear word. And we never talked… we say ‘oh, he’s a nuclear power.’ But we’re a greater nuclear power.”
In sum, yes, the quote meme that says “Fox News just asked Trump what he’d do differently from Biden on Ukraine” truly did contain words that the former president genuinely said on live TV.
Ellyatt, Holly. “Russian Forces Invade Ukraine.” CNBC, 24 Feb. 2022, https://www.cnbc.com/2022/02/24/russian-forces-invade-ukraine.html.
Horton, Alex. “For Ukrainian Troops, a Need Arises: Javelin Customer Service.” Washington Post, 14 June 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/06/14/ukraine-javelin-assistance/.
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Amy Tikkanen. “MiG | Soviet Aircraft.” Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/technology/MiG-Soviet-aircraft.
Trump Says US Needs to Get off the Sidelines in Ukraine’s Fight for Survival. Fox Business, 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-c1Me0Kezg.