The modern Republican Party always risks embarrassing itself whenever it tries to claim any affiliation with President Abraham Lincoln, a progressive liberal who would be appalled by the regressive conservative entity that his Republican Party has devolved into. But the GOP managed to outdo itself on Lincoln’s birthday today by tweeting a supposed quote from Lincoln that there’s no evidence he ever uttered, and didn’t even originate in his century.
The trouble came today when the official @GOP account on Twitter posted a photo of the Abraham Lincoln statue at the Lincoln Memorial, with the following quote overlaid onto the photo: “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” It made clear that it was crediting the quote to Lincoln. The trouble: as best anyone knows, Lincoln never said that. Nor had anyone ever said those words at the time Lincoln lived.
It was Jake Tapper of CNN who most prominently called out the GOP for the fake quote, asserting that “There is no evidence that Abraham Lincoln ever said this,” and including a link to a site which provides the proper background. Quote Investigator concludes that there’s “no substantive evidence that Lincoln used this expression” and goes on to explain that the quote instead appears to have first surfaced in the 1940s, eight decades after Lincoln died.
And yet strangely, eight hours after first posting it, and four hours after being called out for it by CNN, the Republican Party still has the fake Lincoln quote displayed on its Twitter. Meanwhile “Abraham Lincoln” has become a trending topic on Twitter, partially thanks to the number of users making fun of the GOP for the fake quote.
And the ACLU has tweeted a real quote from Abraham Lincoln about how “the people know their rights” which helps make clear that Lincoln would have wanted nothing to do with the current Republican Party.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report