Time Columnist, Professor Who Made Up Trump Quote Says It Was a Joke

By Zachary Stieber

The Time magazine columnist and New York University professor who brazenly made up a quote and attributed it to President Donald Trump issued a statement after the president slammed him, claiming he falsified the quote as a joke.

Ian Bremmer, a political scientist who frequently appears on cable news networks to criticize Trump, posted a missive on Twitter claiming that Trump while in Tokyo said: “Kim Jong Un is smarter and would make a better president than Sleepy Joe Biden.”

While a slew of media employees, including a CNN analyst and an NPR correspondent, shared the quote without checking its legitimacy, other reporters questioned it, including Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy.

Bremmer eventually admitted he’d made up the quote, saying it was “a comment on the state of media and the twitterverse today.”

Bremmer later deleted all of his explanations and stayed silent on the issue until Trump criticized him Monday morning.

“Ian Bremmer now admits that he MADE UP ‘a completely ludicrous quote,’ attributing it to me. This is what’s going on in the age of Fake News,” the president wrote.

“People think they can say anything and get away with it. Really, the libel laws should be changed to hold Fake News Media accountable!” he added.

Bremmer took to Twitter to respond, writing: “My tweet yesterday about Trump preferring Kim Jong Un to Biden as President was meant in jest.”

“The President correctly quoted me as saying it was a ‘completely ludicrous’ statement. I should have been clearer. My apologies,” he added.

Neither Time magazine nor New York University has responded to Bremmer making up the quote, the latest in a long series of media deceptions that have occasionally led to firings or suspensions.

In mid-2018, Time magazine published a picture of a crying 2-year-old girl, saying she had been separated from her mother after they illegally crossed into the United States from Mexico.

It was later revealed that the girl’s mother was standing next to the girl.

Multiple mainstream newspapers and magazines—including The New York Times, CNN, Daily News, and NPR—used the photo in their media coverage without disclosing that fact.

A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border in McAllen, Texas, on June 12, 2018. (John Moore/Getty Images)

“My daughter has become a symbol of the … separation of children at the U.S. border. She may have even touched President Trump’s heart,” the girl’s father Denis Valera told Reuters on June 21, 2018.

The father said that the girl and her mother, Sandra Sanchez, had been detained together at the Texas border town of McAllen. It was there that Sanchez applied for asylum. The father said they were never separated from each other during detainment.

Honduran deputy foreign minister Nelly Jerez confirmed Valera’s version of the events.

Epoch Times reporter Bowen Xiao contributed to this report.