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Fact Check: Rumors Have Swirled For Years That Trump Once Said Republicans Are the 'Dumbest Group of Voters.' Here Are the Facts


Claim:

In 1998, Donald Trump said he would run as a Republican in a presidential campaign because they are the “dumbest group of voters.”

Rating:

Rating: False

Rating: False

For years, claims have spread that former U.S. President Donald Trump told People magazine in 1998 that Republicans are “the dumbest group of voters in the country.”

The alleged quote began to spread again in January 2024 around the same time reputable news publications like Axios reported Trump had “cemented” his status as the Republican presidential front-runner.

We found no evidence that Trump said Republicans are “the dumbest group of voters.”

“If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican,” the purported 1998 Trump quote begins. “They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific.”

The quote was shared in January 2024 on social media platforms including X (formerly known as Twitter), Facebook and TikTok. We also found the quote shared in previous years, such as on Imgur in 2023 and TikTok in 2020.

We previously wrote about the quote, in 2015 and 2020. People previously confirmed to FactCheck.org that it had no record of having published any such interview or exchange with Trump:

People looked into this exhaustively when it first surfaced back in Oct. [2015]. We combed through every Trump story in our archive. We couldn’t find anything remotely like this quote — and no interview at all in 1998.

In 1998, People covered Trump mostly for his relationships with his first and second wives, Ivana Trump and Marla Maples. While there is evidence Trump was interested in politics during the late 90s, nothing we found proved he ever said anything about “dumb Republicans” to any reputable publication.

We’ve continued to cover the former U.S. president during the 2024 GOP presidential primaries, including whether he said fellow Republican contender Nikki Haley was “in charge of security” during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Sources:

Doherty, Erin. “Trump Wins New Hampshire Republican Primary, AP Projects.” Axios, Axios, 23 Jan. 2024, https://www.axios.com/2024/01/24/trump-new-hampshire-primary-win-results-2024-election.

Emery, David. “Did Trump Say Nikki Haley Was ‘in Charge of Security’ on Jan. 6?” Snopes, 20 Jan. 2024, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-nikki-haley-security-january-6/.

Farley, Robert. “Bogus Meme Targets Trump.” FactCheck.Org, Annenberg Public Policy Center, 25 Nov. 2015, https://www.factcheck.org/2015/11/bogus-meme-targets-trump/.

Farrell, Mary H.J. “The Trumps Head for Divorce Court.” People, https://people.com/archive/cover-story-the-trumps-head-for-divorce-court-vol-33-no-8/. Accessed 25 Jan. 2024.

LaCapria, Kim. “Did Trump Say Republicans Are the Dumbest Group of Voters?” Snopes, 16 Oct. 2015, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/republicans-dumbest-group-of-voters/.

Schneider, Karen. “The Donald Ducks Out.” People, https://people.com/archive/cover-story-the-donald-ducks-out-vol-47-no-19/. Accessed 25 Jan. 2024.

Staff, Snopes. “Fact Check: Trump Did Not Call Republicans ‘The Dumbest Group of Voters.’” Snopes, 28 May 2020, https://www.snopes.com/news/2020/05/28/trump-republicans-dumbest-group-of-voters/.

Transcript: Donald Trump Announces Plans to Form Presidential Exploratory Committee – October 8, 1999. https://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/10/08/trump.transcript/. Accessed 24 Jan. 2024.



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