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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Trump ‘Quote’ Originated as Satire

Quick Take

President Donald Trump didn’t call for the “death penalty” for “suicide bombers,” as social media posts say. That’s a made-up quote from a satirical story published in 2017.

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An old satirical story’s claim that President Donald Trump made a nonsensical suggestion about punishing “suicide bombers” has resurfaced in viral Facebook posts.

“Trump just said he thinks suicide bombers deserve the death penalty,” the posts claim. “Think about it. Take as much time as u need… .”

The claim also appeared in a community forum on the website of the AARP; that post received several hundred engagements on Facebook as well, according to CrowdTangle data.

Quick internet searches show that the story that spread the claim was first published in May 2017 on BreakingBurgh.com, under the headline: “Trump Fires Up Base With Call For Death Penalty For Suicide Bombers.”

That website describes itself as a “satirical blog serving Western Pennsylvania and beyond.”

The story attributes several made-up quotes to Trump to give the impression that he doesn’t realize suicide bombers kill themselves in their attacks. For example, it claims Trump said, “Anyone who terrorizes and kills good people by suicide bombing deserves nothing less than the highest penalty, which is to pay with their life.”

But without the context of the full story — and the blog’s satire disclaimer — many Facebook users appeared to consider the posts factual and questioned Trump’s intelligence.

As incredible as this sounds — think of who said it,” one user commented. “Sharing.”

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.


About.” BreakingBurgh.com. Accessed 8 May 2019.

Trump Fires Up Base With Call For Death Penalty For Suicide Bombers.” BreakingBurgh.com. 28 May 2017.

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Viral posts claim President Donald Trump called for the "death penalty" for "suicide bombers."
Friday, May 3, 2019