The Slatest

Trump Cites Ian Bremmer Tweet as Example of Why Libel Laws Need to Change

Ian Bremmer speaks onstage during the 2018 Concordia Annual Summit at Grand Hyatt New York on September 25, 2018 in New York City.
Ian Bremmer speaks onstage during the 2018 Concordia Annual Summit at Grand Hyatt New York on September 25, 2018 in New York City.
Riccardo Savi/Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Monday slammed pundit, journalist, and New York University professor Ian Bremmer for publishing a “completely ludicrous quote” that he attributed to him. In the early morning tweet while he was still in Japan, the president said the fake quote that Bremmer published and then deleted shows “what’s going on in the age of Fake News” and how something must be done to prevent similar instances in the future. “@ianbremmer 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,” Trump 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!”

Bremmer, the founder and president of Eurasia Group who is also a columnist and editor-at-large for Time, published a tweet over the weekend that contained a false quote from Trump about North Korea. In the since-deleted post, Bremmer quoted Trump as saying “Kim Jong Un is smarter and would make a better President than Sleepy Joe Biden.” The quote was shared by Rep. Ted Lieu of California and several popular pundits, including Ana Navarro-Cardenas.
When Bremmer was confronted on the fake quote, he defended it by saying it was “plausible” and somehow made a point about the larger state of news media. “This is objectively a completely ludicrous quote. And yet kinda plausible. Especially on twitter, where people automatically support whatever political position they have. That’s the point.” Bremmer wrote in a tweet that he has also since deleted.

Bremmer addressed his tweet again Monday morning after Trump’s criticism, claiming that the quote was “meant in jest.” Bremmer apologized and said that he “should have been clearer.”

This is not the first time Trump has called for a change in libel laws. In fact, he has been pushing the message since he was a candidate. “One of the things I’m going to do if I win … I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” Trump said in February 2016. He has repeated that threat several times since he moved into the White House.