Steve June 10, 2021
viral-quote-about-elections-misattributed-to-trey-gowdy

Quick Take

A viral Facebook post falsely attributes claims of widespread voter fraud and “treasonous acts” during the 2020 election to former Rep. Trey Gowdy. But he told us the statement “wasn’t from me.” We tracked the comments to a retired general who has spread unfounded conspiracy theories.


Full Story

After the elections in November, former Rep. Trey Gowdy supported examination of voting rules and procedures. Gowdy, a Fox News contributor, also said those “alleging widespread fraud” needed to provide proof for those charges.

But a viral post on Facebook, which uses a photo of Gowdy, falsely attributes claims about voter fraud in 2020 to the former South Carolina congressman, who served from 2011 until Jan. 3, 2019.

The post, which is from February and has racked up 38,000 shares, reads: “‘We are not talking about fraudulent voting acts. What we are talking about is TREASON! When you coordinate six to ten states, using cyber warfare to change the outcome, these are TREASONOUS acts.’ – Trey Gowdy”

We found versions of the post dating back to December. Another was posted to Instagram on May 20 and amassed nearly 5,000 likes.

But the posts and the quote did not come from Gowdy.

In an email to FactCheck.org, Gowdy said the posts attributing the quote to him were “100 percent false.”
“Never said it, never wrote it, never thought it,” he said. “No clue where it came from. But it wasn’t from me.”

We did track nearly identical statements in the transcript of a Nov. 29 show on the Worldview Weekend Broadcast Network, which hosts a variety of videos and stories that spread conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic. The comments were made by retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a former military analyst for Fox News who has made baseless claims about conspiracies and widespread election fraud.

McInerney, Nov. 29: Thank you, Brannon. And what really promoted me to call you on this was listening to President Trump talk on Maria Bartiromo today, this morning and his comments that he must’ve been on, oh, almost 45 minutes with Maria. But what startled me was, he kept talking about fraudulent votes. Then I heard Rudy Giuliani talking about fraudulent votes, etc. It’s not fraudulent votes. The American people must understand we are talking about treason. And why do I say that? Well, when you coordinate six to 10 states using cyberwarfare, it changes the outcome of the election in favor of whomever you want.

These are treasonous acts. These are not just fraudulent acts, they are treasonous acts.

We’ve reported on the unfounded claims of a cyberattack and other conspiracy theories swirling around the 2020 elections before.

This isn’t the first time Gowdy’s name has been attached to a quote fueling a baseless theory. And it’s just the latest example of a viral post misleadingly using the reputation of a political leader or celebrity to advance an argument.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.

Sources

Altman, Howard and Davis Winkie. “This retired three-star falsely claims US soldiers died attacking a CIA facility in Germany tied to election fraud.” Military Times. 1 Dec 2020.

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress. “Gowdy, Trey Biography.” Accessed 27 May 2021.

Fichera, Angelo. “Bogus Kurt Russell Quote Strikes Again.” FactCheck.org. 5 Dec 2018.

Fichera, Angelo. “Gowdy Didn’t Author Viral Conspiracy Theory.” FactCheck.org. 4 May 2021.

Fichera, Angelo and Saranac Hale Spencer. “MyPillow CEO’s Video Rehashes Debunked Election Fraud Claims.” FactCheck.org. 5 Feb 2021.

Fichera, Angelo. “The ‘Raccoon’ Rant Not Written by Steve Harvey.” FactCheck.org. 10 May 2019.

Garcia, Victor. “Trey Gowdy on holding China accountable for coronavirus: ‘There are lots of ways we can hold China down.’” Fox News. 18 Apr 2020.

Gowdy, Trey. Email to FactCheck.org. 24 May 2021.

Gowdy: We need to avoid broad claims of voter fraud.” Video. Fox News. 5 Nov 2020.

Hale Spencer, Saranac and Angelo Fichera. “MyPillow CEO’s Video Rehashes Debunked Election Fraud Claims.” FactCheck.org. 5 Feb 2021.

Halon, Yael. “Gowdy: Trump should be ‘comforter in chief,’ leave medical advice to health professionals during coronavirus.” Fox News. 26 Apr 2020.

Howse, Brannon. “Transcript of 3-Star General McInerney Calls for Martial Law, Tribunals & Investigation of Treason.Worldview Weekend Foundation. 03 Dec 2020.

Niemietz, Brian. “Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud grow louder and less credible.” New York Daily News. 06 Nov 2020.

Parke, Caleb. “Trey Gowdy says those alleging voter fraud have a ‘responsibility to prove it.’” Fox News. 10 Nov 2020.

WVW Broadcast Network. “Worldview Weekend Broadcast Network” webpage. Accessed 27 May 2021.

The post Viral Quote About Elections Misattributed to Trey Gowdy appeared first on FactCheck.org.

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