Teddy Roosevelt: “To Anger a Conservative, Lie to Him” Quote-Reported Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Teddy Roosevelt once said, “To anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.”
No official source for this quote has been provided for this quote, and we couldn’t find any record of Teddy Roosevelt ever saying this.
Because it’s impossible to definitively prove that a historical quote does not exist, we’re going to report this one as fiction until evidence proving otherwise surfaces.
The quote has been making the rounds in memes and on discussion boards for years:
To anger a conservative, lie to him.
To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.
Barry Popik, a contributing editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, investigated the quote and found that it first appeared in print sometime around 2007. Early on, the quote was attributed to an “unknown source.”
It was first attributed to Roosevelt in 2009, and by 2010 it was regularly being attributed to him. That progression suggests the quote was a modern invention and Theodore Roosevelt’s name was attached to it nearly 100 years after his death.
We also searched archives of Theodore Roosevelt’s letters in the National Archives for any references to the quote — but nothing turned up.
Given that no official records linking Theodore Roosevelt to this quote on liberals and conservatives, we’re reporting this one as fiction.