Trump elevated Charlie Kirk’s false claim about French protesters chanting his name. That never happened. – By Alex Kaplan (mediamatters.org) / Dec 4 2018
The false claim hinges on a video that came from a QAnon supporter
On December 4, President Donald Trump retweeted a false claim from Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk that some protesters in France had chanted “We want Trump.” The false claim is based on a video that is actually from a June rally in the United Kingdom held in support of far-right extremist Tommy Robinson, and it was posted by a Twitter account that pushes content related to the QAnon conspiracy theory. Below is a brief timeline highlighting the origin and spread of the claim and the video.
December 2: A pro-QAnon Twitter account posted a video of people chanting a pro-Trump slogan, and another account claimed it was from France. On the evening of December 2, Twitter account @FrozenF712 tweeted a video of people chanting “We want Trump,” along with the text, “Ugh EUROPE jyst (sic) starting..WE WANT TRUMP.” @FrozenF712 has regularly tweeted in support of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Later that evening, the account @HorseRacingCOO tweeted the video, adding, “France, on their way to becoming a 3rd world country chants. WE WANT TRUMP.”
Both tweets were retweeted thousands of times. Yet, there are clear indications the video was not recorded in France: The protestors are chanting in English, someone is waving what looks like the English flag, and police officers are wearing what appear to be British police uniforms. A French Agence France-Presse journalist noted that the video matches up with other footage from a June rally in London in support of Robinson.
December 3: The false claim spreads. @HorseRacingCOO’s false claim spread elsewhere online:
“The Donald” subreddit.
4chan’s “politically incorrect” message board.
The Facebook page of Sean Campbell, a videographer who has worked with far-right troll Laura Loomer.
RedStateObserver, a hyperpartisan site.
Clash Daily, also a hyperpartisan site.
Former Fox News contributor Kevin Jackson’s site.
Syndicated radio host Rose Tennent’s Facebook page.
By that afternoon, radio host Rush Limbaugh had shared the false claim on air, saying, “I kid you not. I know friends who were there. There are some people wearing the yellow vests chanting, ‘We want Trump’ among the rioters in Paris.”
Later that evening, Kirk tweeted, “‘We want Trump’ being chanted through the streets of Paris.”
December 4: Trump retweets Kirk’s tweet.
This tweet gets a presidential retweet, but who is chanting "we want Trump" in Paris?? pic.twitter.com/GNROhqOem8
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) December 4, 2018