The source of a quote attributed to Donald Trump about "Sleepy Joe Biden" and Kim Jong Un that was widely promoted by media figures and Trump critics has acknowledged online that he fabricated the "objectively ludicrous quote." Trump has since responded by pointing to the incident as another example of "what’s going on in the age of Fake News."
"President Trump in Tokyo: 'Kim Jong Un is smarter and would make a better President than Sleepy Joe Biden,'" Time Magazine foreign affairs columnist and editor-at-large Ian Bremmer tweeted Sunday.
As the Washington Examiner and The Daily Caller noted, the quote was left up for several hours, while various critics of Trump promoted it, among them Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, Media Matters' Andrew Lawrence, and CNN contributor Ana Navarro — the latter urging people not to "shrug" the quote off and declaring Trump's supposed comment "praising a cruel dictator who violates human rights, threatens nuclear attacks, oppresses his people, and kills political opponents" as "NOT FREAKING NORMAL."
As documented by the Examiner's Jerry Dunleavy, after the tweet went viral, Bremmer initially posted a defense of his fake quote, describing it as "plausible" and saying it was a comment on "the state of the media and the twitterverse today." But amid mounting pressure, Bremmer ultimately chose to delete the "objectively ludicrous quote."
"If this alleged quote from Trump is accurate, it’s a huge propaganda win for the disgusting murderous tyrant that is King Jong Un," Dunleavy initially posted. "But if this quote is fabricated, it’s a truly deceitful piece of Fake News. And I’d like more than just Ian Bremmer’s say-so before I decide which." Dunleavy added in an update that Bremmer "has now admitted that he fabricated this viral Trump quote. And yet it is being shared by journalists and congressmen as if it is real."
President Trump has since responded to the "MADE UP" quote, framing the sequence of events as another example of how things operate in "the age of Fake News."
"[Ian Bremmer] now admits that he MADE UP 'a completely ludicrous quote,' attributing it to me," Trump tweeted early Monday. "This is what’s going on in the age of Fake News. People think they can say anything and get away with it. Really, the libel laws should be changed to hold Fake News Media accountable!"
Though Trump did not say that Kim Jong Un would make a better president than Biden, he did tweet over the weekend that he "smiled" when the dictator described Biden as "a low IQ individual," as Trump has repeatedly.
"The North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me," Trump tweeted Sunday. "I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?"
Asked by NBC News' Chuck Todd about the president's tweet on Sunday, Sanders stressed that Trump's "not siding" with the North Korean dictator over the former Vice President of the United States; rather, the two simply "agree in their assessment of former Vice President Joe Biden," The New York Times reports. "[T]he president’s focus in this process is the relationship he has and making sure we continue on the path towards denuclearization," she added. "That’s what he wants to see and that’s certainly what the people in this region want to see."