Fact-Checkers Plead With Rand: ‘Stop Using Fake Founding Fathers Quotes’


Two BuzzFeed journalists who routinely fact-check political candidates published an open letter to Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) begging him to “stop using fake founding fathers quotes.”

The letter, which fact checked quotes Paul attributed to the nation’s founding fathers, was signed by BuzzFeed political reporters Andrew Kaczynski and Megan Apper.

The two looked at quotes from Paul’s books and a speech he gave — and fact checked them with a historian, a professor, a search on Google, and an expert on Abraham Lincoln who said Paul incorrectly attributed a quote to the former President.

In June, BuzzFeed reported that “Rand Paul’s first two books are full of fake founding fathers quotes.”

Here’s some of the letter from Tuesday:

Just this week you released a new book, Our President &Their Prayers: Proclamation of Faith by America’s Leaders, with co-author James Robison who “compiled and edited” the text. It too is full of fake quotations.

If you Google the language of the “National Prayer of Peace,” which you attribute to Thomas Jefferson, the first result is a page from the Thomas Jefferson Foundation debunking the quotation.

The reporters told Paul they eventually stopped vetting every chapter of his because, “we don’t have the time to check them all.”

Paul did not return BuzzFeed’s request for comment, but here’s what he said to Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel:

“I mean, this idiot says the same thing about my speeches,” Paul told WaPo. “Do I need to say in my speech, as many people attribute to Thomas Jefferson, but some people dispute, before I give the quote? It’s idiocy, it’s pedantry – it’s ridiculous stuff from partisan hacks. And I’d say that guy’s one of ‘em.”

Read the full letter from BuzzFeed.

This post has been updated.

Masthead Masthead
Editor & Publisher:
Managing Editor:
Senior News Editor:
Assistant Editor:
Editor at Large:
Investigations Desk:
Senior Political Correspondent:
Front Page Editor:
Social Media Editor:
Editor for Prime & Special Projects:
General Manager & General Counsel:
Executive Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer: