President Donald Trump is commemorating the great appreciation former President Ronald Reagan once expressed about him, but there was just one problem — that never really happened.
Trump shared a long-debunked quote attributed to Reagan along with a photo of the two shaking hands at the White House. “Cute!” Trump wrote in a tweet featuring a photo of the two presidents.
“For the life of me, and I’ll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with a president,” the photo says, attributing the words to the late President Reagan.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 8, 2019
Trump and Reagan did meet, but there’s no evidence that their relationship ever went further than a handshake line encounter presidents share with thousands of supporters throughout their time in office.
As for the quote, the Reagan foundation has disputed it when it has surfaced on social media in the past.
“He did not ever say that about Donald Trump,” Joanne Drake, chief administrative officer of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, told Politifact in February.
According to Snopes, the quote was first attached to the image in July of 2016, when it was shared to a Facebook group that had previously spread false information around the Trump campaign, including a fake quote alleging Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain predicted a Trump presidency in 1993.
Trump has previously shared another photo of a handshake with the former president and First Lady Nancy Reagan, but the terse inscription would also undermine the alleged fondness Reagan had for the real estate tycoon.
An old picture with Nancy and Ronald Reagan. pic.twitter.com/8kvQ1PzPAf
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2017
“To Donald Trump with best wishes,” reads the brief inscription, followed by an apparent signature mistake reading “Reagan Reagan.”