News that United States President Donald Trump had fallen ill with COVID-19 broke shortly after 1:00 AM Eastern time October 2 2020. Right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro wasted no time, immediately chiding Twitter’s “blue checkmarks” (verified users) for their anticipated lack of sympathy:
Looking forward to all the kind-hearted expressions of sympathy to Trump and Melania from the blue-checkmark Left.
That tweet appeared just five minutes after Shapiro first tweeted about the news:
Among responses to Shapiro’s “blue checkmarks” tweet were screenshots of a purported tweet of his years before in which he expressed little sympathy at the murder of teenager Trayvon Martin. One response was from user @Popehat, and it included no additional commentary — just an image:
Another was from user @xeniaporvida, who commented “This you?”
As we’ve noted before, fake Ben Shapiro tweets are not uncommon, nor is confusion over whether Shapiro actually said something attributed to him:
Shapiro’s ‘Trayvon Martin’ Tweet
Both screenshots in the tweets above included a date and timestamp, indicating that Shapiro sent the Trayvon Martin tweet on February 5 2016.
In response to Shapiro’s claim he awaited “all the kind-hearted expressions of sympathy to Trump and Melania from the blue-checkmark Left” after news of Trump’s diagnosis broke, others responded with screenshots of a tweet attributed to Shapiro. In that tweet, Shapiro expressed a lack of sympathy regarding the death of Trayvon Martin on what would have been his twenty-first birthday.
The February 2016 tweet about Trayvon Martin was authentic, unaltered, and accurately reflected in the many screenshots shared in the reply of his second tweet.