Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has taken aim at President Donald Trump before, but he never said Trump should resign because of "serious emotional problems," despite what one false headline would have readers believe.
"Mitt Romney: ‘Trump has some very serious emotional problems, he must resign before we…’," said a June 6, 2018, headline from International Flash News, an online blog. A few replica stories were posted under the same headline on other blog sites in May.
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The International Flash News story alleged that during an interview on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, Romney said Trump "has some very serious emotional problems." The story also quoted Romney as suggesting Trump should resign over sexual misconduct claims and expressing concern regarding the president’s tweets about North Korea and domestic race relations.
We searched for the headline in Google and Nexis and found no evidence that Romney made such a statement. Shimrit Sheetrit, director of Anderson Cooper 360, told us it has been several years since Romney was last featured as a guest on the show.
But as it turns out, we did find that the comments attributed to Romney in the false report were all at some point made by another former presidential candidate: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt.
On Dec. 13, 2017, Sanders joined the set of Anderson Cooper 360 and said Trump "has some very serious emotional problems" in reference to a Twitter attack Trump made against U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. During the same interview, Sanders said Trump should resign because of the multiple sexual assault allegations levied against him.
The International Flash News story also included quotes that can be properly attributed to Sanders’ statement on CBS This Morning on Dec. 7, 2017. And Sanders — not Romney — has on multiple occasions accused Trump of "trying to divide us up by the color of our skin," including on Nov. 12, 2017, while visiting CBS’s Face the Nation.
So the supposed Romney quote, along with several others included in the text of the story, is actually a misattribution of multiple different quotes from Sanders. We rate this statement Pants on Fire!