Fabricated Trump post about indicted aide Walt Nauta circulates online

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on June 15, 2023 at 20:45
  • 3 min read
Social media users are claiming an image shows a Truth Social post in which Donald Trump seems to blame aide Walt Nauta for mishandling the classified documents at the center of his federal indictment. This is false; the supposed statement does not appear in live or archived versions of the former US president's feed, and the message exceeds the platform's character count.

"Many people are saying the theft of Nuclear and Military Secrets is a very serious crime," says text in what appears to be a screenshot from Trump's Truth Social account. "That is why as America's Favorite President, I enforced the USA's classified document laws very powerfully and very strongly. And that is why, when I asked my LOYAL aide Walt Nauta to pack up my Personal Papers before I left the White House, I am Confident he did not place any Nuclear Secrets in the boxes."

The purported post continues: "As a Navy man, Walt KNEW that would be illegal, and could even get ME in 'trouble.' Now Biden's Radical DOJ alleges that Walt did this, but I DON'T BELIEVE THEM! So let's just see what Judge Cannon says. Good Luck, Walt! We are behind you all the way!"

Screenshot from Twitter taken June 14, 2023

The image spread across Twitter, Facebook and TikTok on June 14, 2023 -- one day after Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 felony charges related to his alleged mishandling of some of the US government's most sensitive secrets and scheming to prevent their return.

Many social media users are claiming the message shows Trump "throwing Nauta under the bus."

"This is the tweet where Donald Trump begins to blame Walt Nauta," says one June 14 tweet. "This is a strategy."

Trump was active on Truth Social before and after his arrival at a US courthouse in Florida.

He posted June 9, for example, about the indictment of Nauta, a US Navy veteran who became Trump's personal aide after serving as a military valet in his administration. Nauta was charged with six counts for allegedly helping Trump hide documents from the FBI and his own attorney.

"They are trying to destroy his life, like the lives of so many others, hoping that he will say bad things about 'Trump,'" Trump said in the post. "He is strong, brave, and a Great Patriot. The FBI and DOJ are CORRUPT!"

But the other statement in the image circulating online is not real.

No message about Nauta packing up Trump's papers appears on live or archived versions of the former president's Truth Social page. Additionally, the text in the image shared online exceeds the platform's 500-character limit.

Screenshot from Truth Social taken June 15, 2023

Some versions of the image show a watermark for Imgflip, a website for creating memes.

AFP contacted the Trump campaign for comment, but no response was forthcoming.

AFP has previously debunked other fabricated Trump posts here, here, here, here and here.

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