Does Trump really want “lasting peach” in Israel? Or were we fooled by fake news?

The White House Press Office apparently sent out a typo-ridden press release suggesting that President Trump wanted to promote “lasting peach.” It was just too silly not to write about. But while many are ridiculing it, nobody has checked if it’s actually real. My research makes me suspicious.

The original source of the release in question comes from a tweet by Matthew Levitt, author and director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence of the Washington Institute, a think tank focusing on the Middle East. He is a former Treasury department official, and I have no reason to believe he would promote a hoax. Here’s the graphic of a White House press release that he tweeted.

What’s wrong with this picture?

This is a sad piece of text. The best part, of course, is “Promote the possibility of lasting peach.” But there’s more.

In two places it incorrectly uses the word “Israeli’s” — one is supposed to be “Israelis” and another should just be “Israel.” Never trust a person who can’t properly use an apostrophe.

And in the “new approach” bullet, “couple” should be “coupled.”

Given the sloppy approach of this administration — they can’t get their story straight on firing the FBI director, and Trump told officials in Israel that the he “just got back from the Middle East” — this looks like just another screw-up. This is a president who confused “council” and “counsel” and tweeted that no one had appointed a special “councel” for Obama-era crimes. Clearly he and his advisors can’t spell, just as they can’t think!

And sure enough, the “lasting peach” got picked up all over, with its overtones of an orange president who was thinking of the word “impeach.” Slate included it in a list of gaffes. The Atlantic quipped “Give peach a chance.”

Our cognitive biases want to believe this. But before I critiqued it in this space, I wanted to find the original text.

I couldn’t.

All the sources ridiculing the president point to the same Matthew Levitt tweet. No other reporter has provided independent confirmation.

The statement does not appear on the White House page or anywhere else on the Internet — neither in this form with the typos, or corrected.

And why is it in blue?

Where did this actually come from? I can’t be certain. Could it be (gasp) fake news?

I know you want to believe this. “It’s just the kind of thing the Trump people would do,” you may be thinking.

But when you believe what you want to believe, then you’ve given up on objective truth. It becomes impossible to discuss anything. And we’re all just gibbons throwing rocks at each other.


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  1. Good for you, and thank you. I am opposed to nearly everything this administration has done, but the most important thing is that we not succumb to “alternative facts.”