In July 2019, the Facebook page “Bristol for Europe” shared side-by-side prints that contrasted a purported quote by United States President Donald Trump with one from English author George Orwell:
On the left was a quote attributed to George Orwell from the novel 1984, first published in 1949. That portion read:
THE PARTY TOLD YOU TO REJECT THE EVIDENCE OF YOUR EYES AND EARS. IT WAS THEIR FINAL, MOST ESSENTIAL COMMAND.
GEORGE ORWELL, 1984
As cited, the Orwell quote did appear in 1984, appearing in a larger context on the website Genius. The quote on the right read:
AND JUST REMEMBER WHAT YOU’RE SEEING AND YOU’RE READING IS NOT WHAT’S HAPPENING.
DONALD TRUMP, 2018.
Brief iterations of that quote from July 2018 were available on Twitter, often alongside the Orwell quotation:
"The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command."
-George Orwell, "1984"
“And just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” -Donald Trump, 7/24/2018 pic.twitter.com/V3IRFuKnz3
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) July 24, 2018
ABC News tweeted a longer version of the clip, during which Trump discusses tariffs, China, and the European Union on July 24 2018. And a lengthier version of Trump’s commentary was shared to YouTube on that same date.
In the video, Trump begins discussing the above-referenced topics before segueing into a critique of the media. At that point, he urges supporters not to believe what they hear or read in the news:
Trump’s full remarks were available on the White House website on the page “Remarks by President Trump at the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States National Convention,” dated July 24 2018.
After a portion of the remarks during which he stated the United States was in the midst of a “midst of a great economic revival,” Trump pivoted to an anecdote about a recent NBC segment that he had viewed and his opinions on journalism. After joking that even he was critical of himself after watching what he framed as a hit piece, Trump maintained that media reporting on his tariff policies were unfair and exhorted supporters to “stick with” his administration and disregard unfavorable news coverage of his policies:
These countries have been ripping us off for decades. It doesn’t take a week. It takes a little longer. But we’re going to get it done. But just remember, we can’t lose $817 billion.
We rebuilt China. What the European Union is doing to us is incredible. How bad. They made a $151 billion last year — our trade deficit with the European Union. They sound nice but they’re rough. They’re all coming in to see me tomorrow. They’re all coming to the White House.
I said, “You have to change.” They didn’t want to change. I said, “Okay. Good. We’re going to tariff your cars.” They send millions of cars — Mercedes, all of them, BMW. So many cars. I said, “We’re going to have to tariff your cars.” They said, “When can we show up? When can we be there?” “Would tomorrow be okay?” Oh, folks, stick with us. Stick with us. Amazing.
But remember, they have the biggest, best, strongest lobbyists, and they’re doing a number. Just stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people — the fake news.
I mean, I saw a piece on NBC today. NBC — not just CNN. CNN is the worst. But I saw a piece on NBC; it was heart-throbbing. They were interviewing people — they probably go through 20, and then they pick the one that sounds like the worst. But they went through a group of people. In fact, I wanted to say, “I got to do something about this Trump.” Terrible.
And that piece was done by the lobbyists and by the people that they hire. It was a total setup. This country is doing better than it’s ever done before, economically. This is the time to take off the rip-off of tariff. We have to do it.
You know, other countries have tariffs on us. So when I say, “Well, I’m going to put tariffs on them, they all start screaming, ‘He’s using tariffs.’” China charges us, when we make a car, a 25 percent tariff. We charge them 2.5 percent. Other than that, it’s a fair deal. Okay?
Similar things with other countries, like the European Union. They’re a big abuser. But it’s all working out. And just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening. And I’ll tell you, I have so many people that are so in favor — because we have to make our country truly great again.
Remember? “Make America Great Again.” And then, in two and a half years, it’s called, “Keep America Great.” So the way we keep America great is to make at least reasonable — I’m not saying — at least reasonable, at least fair trade deals. Not stupid trade deals, like we’ve put up with for 25 years. So we’re changing it, and we’re changing it rapidly.
Both quotes — one attributed to George Orwell in 1984 and the other to President Donald Trump in 2018 — were authentic and accurately transcribed. The larger context of Trump’s commentary is reproduced above, with background information on his remarks.