After an Ireland-centric day including meetings with its prime minister, Enda Kenny, Donald Trump attempted to bestow some wisdom by sharing his favorite proverb of "many years."
Only, as Twitter users quickly pointed out, it wasn't a proverb. And it wasn't Irish.
"As we stand together with our Irish friends, I'm reminded of that proverb—and this is a good one, this is one I like. I've heard it for many many years and I love it," Trump said at the Friends of Ireland luncheon in Washington, D.C. on the eve of St. Patrick's Day.
"Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue but never forget to remember those that have stuck by you," he said. "A lot of us know that, we know it well," he added. "It's a great phrase."
Users on Twitter, including some who said they were from Ireland and had never heard the adage, were quick to search the quote online and found it attributed to a Nigerian man, Albashir Adam Alhassan. The poem "Remember to Forget" is posted under his name on poemhunter.com. It's also, however, listed as an "Old Irish Blessing" by user "GingerSnips" at scrapbook.com. Joanne Tuttle too has claimed it as part of her online book Crystal Inspirations. Roy B. Zuck added it to his 1977 book, The Speaker's Quote Book: Over 5,000 Illustrations and Quotations for All Occasions, also available online.
Trump didn't explicitly say the words he was about to share with his "Irish friends" were Irish, to be fair, though it's pretty clear the rhyme is less of a proverb and more one of those unattributable quotes you find on a 1970s wall hanging in a thrift store in Omaha.
The author of Trump's Irish proverb is possibly this business manager from Nigeria? https://t.co/bxSgs8yCj4
— Paul M❤️l❤️ney (@oceanclub) March 16, 2017
With all due respect to the president's reputation for scrupulously checking his sources, I don't think this is an Irish proverb. https://t.co/1EvGGMsE9r
— The Irish For 🏌🐕 (@theirishfor) March 16, 2017
Have literally never heard this in my entire life. https://t.co/3gSBhbvdl2
— Christine Bohan (@ChristineBohan) March 16, 2017
— Andrew McDermott (@AndrewMcD999) March 16, 2017
Someone on Trump's team just Googled 'irish proverb' and hoped for the best. pic.twitter.com/xmNHFdq7ER
— ⭐ amy o'connor ⭐ (@amyohconnor) March 16, 2017
This is utter bollocks Trump
'Irish proverb' my arse https://t.co/kK4BEUbxHD
— Planet Belfast (@Planet_Belfast) March 16, 2017
Trump's Irish Proverb may have been written by Albashir Adam Alhassan but to be fair it IS in the second Google hit for "Best Irish Proverb" pic.twitter.com/53sXOi1EHr
— Cabel Sasser (@cabel) March 16, 2017
Awkward. Rethinking those proposed budget cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts yet?