President Donald Trump lauded America’s ties to Ireland by quoting one of his favorite “Irish” proverbs ― except that it probably wasn’t Irish at all.
Standing alongside Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the Friends of Ireland luncheon in Washington, D.C., on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday, Trump said that “as we stand together with our Irish friends” he was “reminded of that proverb” he’d heard “for many, many years and I love it.”
“Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue, but never forget to remember those that have stuck by you,” recited Trump. “We know that, politically speaking.”
But many Irish people questioned the authenticity of his saying.
Some Twitter users suggested that a member of Trump’s team had simply plucked the saying from one of the multiple websites on which it’s dubiously listed as an old Irish proverb:
Others claimed the line actually emanated from the poem “Remember to forget,” by Nigerian poet Albashir Adam Alhassan, to whom The Huffington Post has reached out for comment.
In fairness to Trump, he didn’t explicitly state that the saying was Irish ― but Twitter users were unwilling to let him off the hook, given that he said he was prompted to say it while standing “together with our Irish friends.”
While the origin of the phrase remains unclear, a White House spokeswoman explained its appearance in Trump’s speech to The Hill by saying it was “originally supplied in an email on March 8 by the State Department via [the National Security Council] as building blocks in advance of this event,”
“These building blocks were supplied in the context of the Shamrock Ceremony and were ultimately used in the prepared remarks for the luncheon,” she added.