Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, shares a 9gag image falsely attributing a quote to Churchill and then gets owned (via @joshchafetz). For what it's worth, a lot of fascists of today are calling themselves alt-right and they support your party's President pic.twitter.com/4qnT6BatvL— Marcel Dirsus (@marceldirsus) August 7, 2018
Twitter users wasted no time calling him out.
On Tuesday, the Republican governor made a comment about left-wing antifa, or anti-fascist, protesters in Oregon, who showed up to counter right-wing protesters, using the quote, “The fascists of the future will call themselves anti-fascists.”
While Abbott attributed the quote to Churchill, Twitter users promptly noted that there’s nothing recorded showing that he ever uttered or wrote these words. Soon after facing scrutiny, Abbott deleted the tweet.
NEW: Some insights are timeless — and some are just erroneous.— Lauren McGaughy (@lmcgaughy) August 7, 2018
Texas Gov. @GregAbbott_TX tweets fake Winston Churchill quote about anti-fascists and he's unlikely to delete it.https://t.co/qNDnyPOu1G#txlege pic.twitter.com/966mhex9OX
Have you heard the famous Churchill quote that “the fascists of the future will call themselves anti-fascists”? Well, it’s a fake quote. Churchill never said it. But that didn’t stop TX Gov Greg Abbott from tweeting the fake quote late last night. pic.twitter.com/TM1r5cGlUe— yobaba (@yoyobaba) August 7, 2018
“greg abbott will fart into his cupped palm, sniff it, and like what he smells.” —winston churchill— Mom Brokaw (@HerNameIsMom) August 7, 2018
It seems our courageous hero, Greg Abbott, Actual Governor of Texas, has deleted his tweet with the "timeless" yet completely fabricated quote from Winston Churchill.— Alastair Woods (@alastairwoods) August 7, 2018
Thankfully, God has blessed us with Command ? + Shift + 4. pic.twitter.com/d35l6yoOw0
#Tuesdaytip dishonest or unqualified politicians are a result of apathy, which is why only a fourth of Texans voting led to this guy becoming governor.— Forrest (@ForrestCoyne) August 7, 2018
Gov. Greg Abbott deletes tweet with fake Winston Churchill quote https://t.co/FyCDPw7RTu via @houstonchron
In an email sent to HuffPost, Richard Langworth, a historian and fellow with the Churchill Project at Hillsdale College, said that the phrase was not found anywhere in the notorious British prime minister’s 15 million published works. He also stated that nothing in the 50 million works written about him ever mention the quote either.
He confirmed that Churchill “uses ‘anti-fascist’ frequently toward the end of [World War II] about the Yugoslav Anti-Fascist Coalition and the Italian Anti-Fascist Council." Still, he added, “in 97 occurrences of the word in his canon, there is nothing resembling this alleged prediction.”
“It doesn’t sound like him, really,” Langworth explained. “Too pat. He thought deeply about and feared the future, but not in that way.”
Responding to the controversy, Abbott told the Dallas News that it’s “irrelevant” who wrote the quote. What matters, he said, is that it reflects what he believes.
“Listen, what I tweeted was a sentiment that I have, and that is antifa is dangerous to society and antifa is the antithesis of safety and security, and they are antagonists to law enforcement as well as to other people," he said.
“If no one else said it, attribute the quote to me because it’s what I believe in,” he added.
The Oregon clash turned violent, and local police were accused of protecting the right-wing activists, leaving left-wing protesters to be the target. That allegation prompted Police Chief Danielle Outlaw to say that her officers’ behavior was under investigation.
Despite Abbott's backtrack regarding the quote, it's concerning that a governor would be so vehemently against one particular group of people standing up to what is mostly perceived as a white supremacist movement.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Abbott has distributed fabricated information that aligned with his personal beliefs.
In a tweet last year, the governor shared an article falsely claiming that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had threatened to kick players off the team if they failed to stand for the national anthem. But once he was told the story was false, he again said it didn’t matter. Instead, he said he wished the story was true.
Clearly, Abbott is no stranger to sharing false claims or quotes. And when pressed about them, he has a pattern of excusing his behavior by saying he agrees with the sentiment.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid