Fact check: Fake quote calls Biden supporters a ‘confederacy of fools’

The claim: The Czech Republic called Joe Biden and those who voted for him fools. 

An often recycled fake quote, allegedly from the Czech Republic, about the dangers of a politicians’ presidency, is once again making the rounds on social media. This time Joe Biden’s name has been plugged in. 

The March 10 Facebook post, which has 283,000 shares, claimed this is what “the Czech Republic” had to say about the recent election. 

“The danger to America is not Joe Biden, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of a Biden presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president,” the post reads. 

It also purports that Biden is a symptom of what ails America. 

Chris Binnings, who published the March 10 post, did not respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY. 

A podcast on iHeart Radio called “The Voice of the Nation” by Malcolm Out Loud also used the quote, as well as singer Ted Nugent, who posted the quote on his Facebook page Jan. 26. Nugent did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.

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Same claim, new person to blame

While the most recent circulation of the quote targets Biden supporters, the quote has been making its way through the internet since at least 2010, replacing Biden with other American presidents, including Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Obama appears to be the earliest and most common subject of the quote. 

It’s not limited to American politicians, either. The quote was also used around the world targeting political figures including former President Jacob Zuma in South Africa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Canada, former President Noynoy Aquino in the Philippines and former Prime Minister John Key in New Zealand. 

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Where did it come from?

Sometimes the often recycled quote is attributed to an article in the Czech Republic German-language newspaper called Prager Zeitung, other times it’s attributed to Ken Peters, a professor of economics in the Czech Republic.

It’s even been said former Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus forwarded it around in an email chain. It’s also just been attributed to the “Czech Republic” with no further explanation.

None of these is true. 

There is no evidence online that Klaus said anything like this about Obama, and a 2014 fact-checking article from PolitiFact also could find no record of Klaus ever saying that in public. Snopes also rated that claim as false. 

USA TODAY could not find any evidence of a Ken Peters in Czech Republic who is a professor of economics. 

As for the newspaper, one of the posts alleges Prager Zeitung published an article on April 28, 2010, with the quote; the paper has flatly denied it. Marcus Hundt, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, told Reuters via email that the newspaper “has never published such an article. Neither about Joe Biden nor about Barack Obama.” Reuters also found the claim to be false in its fact-check. Hundt did not return a request for comment from USA TODAY.  

It is unclear where the quote originated. Parts of it go back to at least 2005. Then, on a public forum, someone wrote, “Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince,” attributing it to an unknown author.

Our ruling: False

We rate this claim as FALSE, based on our research. The quote did not start with Biden as its subject, but rather made its way targeting different politicians over the years. The Czech Republic was not commenting on Biden. There is also no evidence the former president of the Czech Republic said those words about any of the politicians that different variations of the quotes target, nor is there evidence that a professor of economics or a Czech newspaper made the statement.

Our sources: 

  • Reuters: Fact Check: Fake ‘Prague Newspaper’ article repurposed to attack Biden supporters
  • Snopes: Did a Prague Newspaper Call U.S. a ‘Confederacy of Fools’ for Electing Joe Biden?
  • Politifact: Chain email says former Czech president called American people a ‘confederacy of fools’
  • Prager Zeitung
  • iHeart Radio: “A Citizenry Capable of Entrusting a Man like Him with the Presidency”

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