Q: Did Donald Trump Jr. say, “Let California burn” for voting blue?
A: No. That’s a made-up quote from a self-described “parody” site.
A viral meme falsely claimed that Donald Trump Jr. blamed Californians for the ongoing deadly fires across their state and took satisfaction in the natural disaster.
The bogus quotation attributed to the president’s son reads, “Let California burn. It’s what they voted for. Notice no fires in red states.” The meme originated on a Facebook page called “Stop the World, the Deplorables Want Off,” and was shared by users in email chains and across the social media platform. Along with the meme, the Facebook page posted: “Just when I thought his dad was the most heartless person in the Trump family… How can someone blame victims for their houses getting burned down?”
Some comments on the Facebook meme were critical of Trump Jr., suggesting that some believed the quote to be true. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” one person wrote. Other users flagged the meme as false, which it is.
The first clue indicating the quote was fabricated is the text superimposed on Trump Jr.’s tie that identified the source of the meme: “Facebook/StopTheWorldTheDeplorablesWantOff.” That Facebook page describes itself as a “mixture of political memes & messages” that creates “a lot of parody posts & those are NOT meant to be taken seriously. Check for ‘quotation marks.’”
Also, the meme cites Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Nov. 12 as the source of the invented quote. But Trump Jr. did not appear that night on the show, which covered topics such as the Florida recount and whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will run again for president in 2020.
Contrary to the meme, Trump Jr. on Nov. 9 tweeted his support for setting aside “even deep political differences” to help all Californians suffering from the devastating effects of the wildfires.
Satirical stories and memes have deceived readers in the past. We’ve debunked multiple stories that originated on satirical websites but then were republished on other websites and platforms without being labeled as satire.
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk false stories shared on the social media network.
“About: ‘Stop the World, the Deplorables Want Off.’” Facebook. Accessed 13 Nov 2018.
“Tucker Carlson Tonight – Monday, November 12.” Fox News. 13 Nov 2018.
Farley, Robert and Lori Robertson. “Bogus Voter Fraud Claims.” FactCheck.org. 13 Nov 2018.
Trump Jr., Donald (@DonaldJTrumpJr). “Well said and well done @RealJamesWoods! We need to be able to set aside even deep political differences more often to do the right thing and be human. Great example for others to hopefully follow.” Twitter. 9 Nov 2018.