Fake editions of Washington Post falsely claim Trump steps down
Fake editions of the Washington Post circulated across Washington on Wednesday, falsely claiming that President Donald Trump had stepped down.
The impostor publication, dated May 1, 2019, featured an extra large headline: "UNPRESIDENTED," and went on to state, "Trump hastily departs White House, ending crisis." A fake website designed to look like the Washington Post's website carried similar language.
"There are fake print editions of The Washington Post being distributed around downtown DC, and we are aware of a website attempting to mimic The Post’s," the Post's PR account tweeted. "They are not Post products, and we are looking into this."
Other headlines on the fake website read "Celebrations break out worldwide as Trump era ends" and "From #MeToo to 'You're Fired.'"
It was not immediately clear who created the fakes.
A "trickster activist collective" called The Yes Men claimed to have produced the paper, along with writer Onnesha Roychoudhuri and author L.A. Kauffman.
“The story this paper tells is more reasonable than our current reality,” Roychoudhuri said in a statement on the site. “And it’s anything but far-fetched. We’re already seeing unprecedented levels of protest and resistance. Now we just need to ask ourselves: What’s next? This paper offers a blueprint to help us reclaim our democracy.”
The protest group Code Pink also posted a video Wednesday morning showing co-founder Medea Benjamin passing out the parody paper.
"The crisis is over, Trump has left the White House. It's very exciting," Benjamin said in the video. "Trump is gone, he's toast. You gotta believe in the Washington Post."
Benjamin said in an interview with POLITICO that Code Pink was one of "many distributors," but would not disclose what other organizations were helping circulate the 10,000 copies of the paper. She also said she is "not at liberty to tell" who produced the paper.
She said that the paper was "using the Women's March as an opportunity to give a sense of our hopes and dreams to people participating in these marches over the weekend." The third annual Women's March is being held on Saturday.
The fake paper features many female bylines, and includes a made-up article claiming that "the massive women-led protests that paralyzed cities around the country" helped contribute to Trump stepping down.
Benjamin added that "it also coincided beautifully with the shutdown to be given the message that Trump leaving and opening the government would be extremely pleasing to a large number of Americans."
MoveOn, a liberal advocacy organization, also shared photos of activists passing out the paper, but the group said on Twitter that it was not involved with creating it.
"While we love the headline, we didn't produce today's satirical Washington Post," MoveOn tweeted.