A faked screenshot purporting President-elect Donald Trump called Rep. Maxine Waters “a pig” on Twitter stirred outrage Thursday night before it was debunked, but not before several users, including a correspondent for The Nation, lent credence to the doctored image.
The fake tweet, timestamped Thursday afternoon, referenced a brief interruption on C-SPAN that day when programming from Russian state television channel Russia Today was aired instead. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., was on the floor of the House when the feed was abruptly cut.
“Overrated Maxine Water [sic] cut-off by RT because she’s so unfair and terrible,” the faked tweet read. “C-SPAN made right call. Much improved viewing without that pig!”
Several Twitter users, including Joan Walsh, a correspondent for The Nation, responded to and shared the tweet — but the tweet was never sent by Trump at all, which CNN’s Brian Stelter pointed out early Friday morning.
The screenshot contained several red flags suggesting it was not real. For one, the alleged image of the tweet lacked the blue check icon that Twitter appends to the names of verified accounts like Trump’s. The purported screenshot also showed Twitter’s retired “favorite” function with a star icon, which was replaced with a heart icon for “likes” in 2015.
Alleged tweets from Trump can now also be checked against multiple databases that log any tweets sent by the president-elect — even if they are deleted later. A search of one database showed no results for tweets about the California congresswoman, even with the misspelling used in the doctored tweet.
Walsh corrected her initial tweet after the screenshot was debunked, admitting that she “should have done a better job checking.”