Fact check: A fake tweet claims AOC urged governors to shut down businesses to hurt Trump
The claim: AOC tweet says governors should maintain restrictions on businesses until after the election
Politicians are clashing as the U.S. attempts to balance surging coronavirus cases, reopening economies and election year politics.
Baseless conspiracy theories about the coronavirus being a Democratic hoax to damage Trump's reelection campaign have arisen after criticisms of how the president has handled the pandemic.
One Facebook post contributed to the conspiracy theories. It shared a screenshot of a tweet — which has been deleted — from Jessi Melton, a Republican congressional candidate in Florida. "Since she deleted it," the tweet starts, referring to U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
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Melton's tweet followed with a photoshopped image attempting to make it look like a tweet that Ocasio-Cortez had written: "It’s vital that Governors maintain restrictions on businesses until after the November Elections because economic recovery will help Trump be re-elected. A few business closures or job losses is a small price to pay to be free from his presidency. #KeepUsClosed."
Did Ocasio-Cortez tweet this?
Ocasio-Cortez did not tweet that message.
ProPublica maintains a "Politwoops" archive that tracks tweets deleted by politicians. The tweet from the Facebook post does not appear on the page tracking Ocasio-Cortez's deleted tweets.
Ocasio-Cortez addressed the fake tweet June 23, tweeting: "I usually don’t tweet to correct fake posts about me bc the right circulates so many, but needless to say the alleged 'deleted' reopening tweet people are saying I wrote is a photoshopped fake being circulated by Republicans. They tell lies because the truth isn’t on their side."
On the same day, Melton reposted the photoshopped tweet and said, "We don't know for sure if she really tweeted it. But we do know for sure it's how she really feels."
Our rating: False
The claim in the post has been rated FALSE. There is no record of the tweet in ProPublica's politwoops database or on Ocasio-Cortez's official Twitter accounts. Additionally, Ocasio-Cortez addressed and denied that she ever sent the tweet.
Our fact check sources:
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