Tweet Goes Viral Claiming Trump Didn’t Wear Translating Device for Speech, White House Pushes Back

U.S. President Donald Trump, center, takes his seat along with President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou, right, and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, left, prior to the start of a round table meeting of G7 leaders. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
• May 28, 2017 8:54 am


The White House is pushing back against a BBC reporter's tweet that went viral claiming President Trump did not wear a translating device while Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni spoke Saturday at the G7 summit.

James Landale tweeted out a short video clip that he said "sums up this G7 summit: look who has chosen not to hear a translation of his Italian host's speech." In the clip, other world leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel are seen wearing headphones, while Trump appears to be wearing nothing to translate the Italian speech.

Landale's tweet had been retweeted more than 18,000 times as of Sunday morning, and entire articles from The Mirror and Der Spiegel criticized Trump based on the clip.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer wrote, however, that Trump was wearing a single listening device in his right ear.

Bloomberg White House reporter Jennifer Jacobs appeared to confirm the White House version of events.

Landale quoted Spicer's tweet to give the White House story, although that tweet of his was retweeted 110 times as of Sunday morning. Put another way, it was retweeted once for every 163 times his original claim was retweeted.

Hillary Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon wrote that Spicer's correction should be shared as much as Landale's original video, comparing it to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's infamous reference to "alternative facts."

Numerous observers leapt on the original clip to mock Trump, however, including MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell and HuffPost reporter Sam Stein.