On February 15 2022, an Imgur user shared the following quote meme, reportedly showcasing commentary by author Stephen King on former United States President Donald Trump’s fitness for office:
A different quote attributed to Stephen King spread virally across social platforms at around the same time. That meme had to do with discussion around a Tennessee school district banning the book Maus.
To the left of the meme was an image of Stephen King; “Occupy Democrats” appeared at the bottom. To the right side of the image, text read:
Hard to believe there was ever a world leader as dumb as Donald Trump. Can’t spell, can’t read, has never managed anything approaching an original thought. His brain is like a radio playing at top volume, but between stations. – Stephen King
The Imgur post was simply titled “Stephen King FTW,” and no citations or information about the source or context of the purported commentary were included. Google Trends data demonstrated a spike in searches for “Stephen King Trump quote” around the time the image was shared on February 15 2022.
Search returned iterations of the quote on meme aggregation sites, one of which was styled differently and shared on February 15 2022; it too included an “Occupy Democrats” watermark. Another version, also visually dissimilar, was uploaded to iFunny.co on August 31 2021.
A search for “It’s hard to believe there was ever a world leader as dumb as Trump” returned a suspiciously low number of results, totaling three. Two were different iterations from AmericasBestPics.com, and one was the linked iFunny post above.
Searching for “Stephen King hard to believe there was ever a world leader” (without quotes) quickly led to a source — a February 28 2020 tweet published directly by King (while Trump was still in office):
Some of the first visible replies were from February 2022, indicating the quote was circulating on social media at that time:
A February 2022 Imgur quote meme attributed a quote about Donald Trump (“Hard to believe there was ever a world leader as dumb as Donald Trump …”) to author Stephen King. Iterations of the meme rarely included context about the quote and its origins. It was correctly attributed to King, and originated with a February 2020 tweet he published.