FACT CHECK: Did George H.W. Bush Say Americans Would ‘Lynch Us’ If They Found Out What His Administration Did?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

An image shared on Facebook claims the late former President George H.W. Bush said in a 1992 interview, “If the American people ever find out what we have done, they will chase us down the streets and lynch us.”

Verdict: False

The Daily Caller News Foundation didn’t find any credible record of Bush making the remark.

Fact Check:

Bush died in November 2018 at the age of 94, according to the Washington Post. In recent days, social media users have again been sharing a quote, purportedly from the late president, that they claim dates back to 1992.

“If the American people ever find out what we have done, they will chase us down the streets and lynch us,” Bush allegedly said. (RELATED: Did Trump Fail To Put His Hand Over His Heart At Bush’s Funeral?)

Many iterations of the claim attempt to suggest that Bush made the seemingly self-incriminating comment in June 1992 to the late White House reporter Sarah McClendon in reference to the Iran-Contra Affair. The DCNF didn’t find any instances of Bush making the remark in a collection of McClendon’s reports and newsletters from June to December 1992.

Brett McClendon, an archives assistant for the University Archives and Special Collections at the University of Texas at Tyler, told the DCNF that he “was unable to locate this quote in any form” in Sarah McClendon’s 1992 writings.

“In her 1996 book ‘Mr. President, Mr. President,’ Sarah writes of George H.W. Bush, ‘I wish he’d give me an interview. There are still a couple of questions I’d love for him to answer,'” Brett McClendon said in an email. “Note that she wrote this in 1996, four years after the alleged interview with President Bush supposedly took place. We do not have any record of such an interview in our collection here.”

Nor does the alleged quote appear in textual archives from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, further adding to the attribution’s dubiousness. Had he made the comment, it almost certainly would have been picked up by media outlets at the time, yet a Nexis search didn’t turn up any matches, per PolitiFact.

Snopes traced an iteration of the claim as far back as 1995, when someone posted an anecdote online citing Sarah McClendon in a 1995 interview on Tom Valentine’s Radio Free America program.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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