Trump campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis tweeted a graphic on Tuesday that sought to swipe at liberals using a quote from former President Theodore Roosevelt.
When Twitter users brought that to the lawyer’s attention, she did not delete the misinformation but instead defended her choice to share it while knowing it was untrue.
“For people asking, this quotation has been attributed to Roosevelt, but there isn’t a specific record of him saying this in a speech,” she wrote. “I posted it because the ifea itself is true, whether or not he said it! :).”
It has only been “attributed” to Roosevelt in internet misinformation ― in memes, on discussion boards and social media. Multiple organizations that commemorate and archive Roosevelt’s life and work have no record of any such quote ever being said.
In recent weeks, Ellis has been a leading member of President Donald Trump’s extensive legal efforts to overturn his election loss. In concert with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Ellis and the Trump campaign legal team provided a stream of bizarre and baseless conspiracy theories about widespread electoral fraud. Their legal challenges have flamed out case after case.
The lawyer’s strange interpretation of the truth in Wednesday’s tweet gave Twitter critics some food for thought, and fodder for memes.