On October 21 2020, Twitter user @TeaPainUSA (and many others) shared the following screenshot, which was purportedly a tweet from United States President Donald Trump on the matter of his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s just-revealed interaction with Sacha Baron Cohen and a woman acting as his teenaged daughter:
A grown man tweeted this. *
(*then someone talked him into deletin' it.) pic.twitter.com/0vIEcrOldA
— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) October 21, 2020
The tweet itself read:
Washed up Hollywood nobodies tried to trick America’s great Mayor Rudy but FAILED! He was with a woman (young) and tucking in his shirt, which I have done many times. Don’t listen to the Fake News! It was a TUCK!
It appeared the tweet originated with the account @roguesnradvisor (“Rogue WH Snr Advisor”), at 6:46 PM on October 21 2020; @roguesnradvisor’s tweet was timestamped two minutes later:
Trump just tweeted & deleted this pic.twitter.com/qXOEiatUSS
— Rogue WH Snr Advisor (@roguesnradvisor) October 21, 2020
On October 22 2020, actor Chris Meloni shared the same screenshot, adding “Find me a better Trump tweet”:
Find me a better Trump tweet https://t.co/eLVJSOazMO
— Chris Meloni (@Chris_Meloni) October 22, 2020
Users searching the “it was a TUCK!” wording of the tweet might land upon an October 21 2020 Meaaw.com post about the broader controversy involving Giuliani (archived here.) That site lent an additional level of credibility to the screenshot:
However, the damage had been done. The movie scene [in the Borat sequel] has already created a major controversy and people on the Internet don’t believe his side of the story. Defending him, Trump also tweeted: “Washed up Hollywood nobodies tried to trick America’s great Mayor Rudy but FAILED! He was with a woman (young) and tucking in his shirt, which I have done many times. Don’t listen to the Fake News! It was a TUCK!” Later, he seems to have deleted the post from the micro-blogging site.
Google Trends evidenced interest in (and confusion over) the purportedly deleted tweet. Related queries included “trump it was a tuck,” “trump tuck tweet,” “trump twitter,” “rudy giuliani,” and “trump deleted tweets”:
As many readers may already know, ProPublica’s Politwoops site maintains a record of the deleted tweets of politicians. Its archive had no trace of any such tweet from @realDonaldTrump, and we found no evidence of manual retweets of the tweet in question here.
Although the “It was a TUCK!” tweet attributed to Trump was popular in screenshots and widely labeled as “deleted,” it was a fabrication. Trump neither tweeted nor deleted the remarks seen in the purported screenshot.