Think of it as FAKE NEWS, only 1800s-style: President Trump on Sunday marked the birthday of Abraham Lincoln by posting a picture of the Lincoln monument and an inspiring quote from our 16th president.
Nice thought. But the quote, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years,” almost certainly didn’t come from Lincoln. At first scan, the tip-off should have been that it sounds like something you’d be more likely to read on a sappy retirement card than in the papers of the Great Emancipator.
And a quick Internet search would have revealed that it’s one of those quotes that is widely misattributed to Lincoln; in fact, it probably originated in some 1940s ad copy. Such misquotes are rampant on social media: One collection of “Ridiculous Misquotes” on Pinterest includes gems like Oscar Wilde talking about people with fancy cars (he died before such a thing existed) and self-help-y advice from the notoriously unsentimental Ernest Hemingway.
Looks like the Republican National Committee was the first to post the image to social media, and Trump picked it up a bit later. His son, Donald Jr., followed suit. A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But all the postings remained — well after the fact-check-hashtag-mocking cycle that followed.
Twitter wags posted their own made-up Lincoln sayings:
"Never get high on your own supply." -A. Lincoln
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) February 12, 2017
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" – Abraham Lincoln https://t.co/XbF3Sk5kzd
— Connor Finnegan (@ConnorFinnegan) February 12, 2017
But this one might just sum up the incident the best: