SALEM — Fact-checkers at PolitiFact.com say a viral Facebook post attributing a 500-word defense of President Trump to Clint Eastwood actually was written by Salem state Rep. Fred Doucette, who said he did not intend to mislead anyone.
Doucette learned about the mix-up Thursday after the Union Leader inquired about it.
He said he wasn’t sure who posted the falsely attributed 500-word statement, which has since been removed from Facebook, but he agreed with PolitiFact’s theory that it might have been an honest mistake caused by one of Doucette’s original Facebook posts in September. That post appeared under a Clint Eastwood meme.
PolitiFact said the false post made on Dec. 28 was shared more than 1,600 times before it was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and removed.
On Sept. 22, Doucette posted a “Sunday rant” on his personal Facebook page that argued in Trump’s defense and tried to persuade voters not to support a Democratic candidate.
“I love when people call Trump stupid,” the post began. “You mean the multi-billionaire who kicked every Democrat’s butt, buried 16 career Republican politicians, and continues to make fools out of once reputable news organizations?”
“I, in no way shape or form, attributed that comment to Eastwood,” Doucette said.
Doucette later sent a shortened version of the post to local newspapers as a letter to the editor. It was published by the Eagle-Tribune on Sept 30.
PolitiFact noted the Massachusetts Republican Party shared Doucette’s original Facebook post on Nov. 24.
While Doucette is clearly the author of the post, the photo of Clint Eastwood above it might have led some to believe it contained Eastwood’s words.
In the meme, Eastwood is quoted as saying “If Congress really gave a rat’s ass about the American people they would resign.” PolitiFact could find no evidence that Eastwood said that either.
Doucette said he wasn’t sure whether Eastwood said that; he just liked the meme.
“Maybe it was inappropriate on my part to attach a meme on my post, but a lot of people do that,” Doucette said. “I guess that’s the problem with memes. … People twist a lot of stuff up.”
Normally, Doucette said he pairs his “rants” with photos of the President or of the American flag. He said he will think twice in the future about pairing them with memes.