Fact check: Post praising Trump misattributed to entertainer Steve Harvey
President Trump is a noted fan of morning television — but he caused quite a stir by meeting with daytime TV’s Steve Harvey. Veuer's Troy Frisby (@troyfrisby) has more.
As celebrities vocalize their support for presidential candidates ahead of the 2020 election, a pro-Trump post has resurfaced claiming to come from comedian Steve Harvey.
The message is titled “HOW I FEEL ABOUT TRUMP,” along with a photo of Harvey. The post compares President Donald Trump to an exterminator hired to clear a home of raccoons, which are described as immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.
The post explains a situation where a man discovers his basement is infested with raccoons and four different exterminators couldn't handle the job but one guy guarantees to get rid of them. The message then says that it doesn't matter if he “swears” or “how many times he's been married” because “you simply want those raccoons gone.”
“Here's why we want Trump: Yes, he's a bit of a jerk; Yes, he's an egomaniac; but we don't care!” the July 5 post reads. “The country is a mess because politicians suck, the Republicans and Democrats can be two-faced and gutless and illegals are everywhere. We want it all fixed!”
Users on and began sharing the post in 2019. One blogger also attributed the post to Harvey and wrote, “I saw this on , so, it must be true!”
Other celebrities have recently been misattributed for viral posts online, with those misattributions debunked by USA TODAY.
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Where did the post originate?
The earliest version of the story appears in 2016 on 100percentfedup.com, a conservative website, as a letter sent by “an anonymous author” who identifies as an “80 year old American.”
The letter from the anonymous author was also posted in 2016 by Infowars, a conspiracy theory website. The piece is titled, “Dear RNC: An everyday American writes a letter to explain the Trump phenomenon to the Washington elite.”
Carl Paladino, honorary co-chair of Trump's New York presidential campaign brought up the raccoon analogy in 2016 during a radio interview with NPR in remarks that, as NPR's public editor put it, “many listeners took to be racial slur” against President Barack Obama. “It doesn't matter what kind of person is the exterminator, they want the raccoons out the basement,” Paladino said in the interview, without being clear if he was referring to Obama, or all government officials.
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NPR's public editor relayed that when Paladino was asked for clarification on his “raccoon” remark, he denied any racist intent and said he was referring to a “widely circulated piece written by an 80-year-old American.”
The “raccoon story” surfaced again in 2018 after Scott Wagner, then-Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, shared the story during remarks at a campaign event, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
In a statement to the Inquirer, Wagner said the raccoon story was “an analogy that illustrates voters don't really care what types of flaws their leaders have, as long as they are getting things done for the people they serve.”
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Misattribution started in 2019
In January 2019, someone named Steve Harvey — but not the TV host — posted the message on , which is when the false claims surrounding the author of the post started.
The original post now has over 166,000 shares and 154,000 reactions. USA TODAY reached out to the original poster for comment.
Social media users then began to share the message and wrote, “COPIED FROM STEVE HARVEY” but did not specify if they were attributing the post to the entertainer or the original poster. However, some shared the post without attributing it to the “Family Feud” game show host.
A representative for Harvey has not yet responded to USA TODAY for comment.
The post does not appear on the entertainer's official page or account.
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Our ruling: False
We rate the claim that TV show host Steve Harvey wrote the “raccoon story” as FALSE because it is not supported by our research. In 2016, the post was originally attributed to an anonymous 80-year-old American. The post was shared on by someone named Steve Harvey in 2019, but not the entertainer, as social media posts claim.
Our fact-check sources:
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