When you want to say something unseemly or controversial, but also wish to distance yourself from it, the oldest trick in the rhetorical playbook is to claim that “people are saying.” Many people have noticed that former steak salesman Donald Trump, currently seeking to become the next American president, employs this tactic frequently.
These are just the times he’s done it on Twitter—
Many people are now saying I won South Carolina because of the last debate. I showed anger and the people of our country are very angry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2016
Many people are saying that my challenge to Obama is having a huge negative effect on his poll numbers — I agree.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2012
A lot of complaints from people saying my name is not on the ballot in various places in Florida? Hope this is false.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2016
Many people think that WM23 @WrestleMania “the battle of the billionaires” was the greatest of all time—set all records
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 25, 2015
Many people will be surprised at what is about to be released concerning @BarackObama's background. I, for one, won't be.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2012
Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs. Obama refused to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted.We have enuf enemies
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2015
And that’s not to mention all the times he’s done it at rallies, most notably in February, when he repeated an audience member’s claim that Republican rival Ted Cruz was a “pussy.”
“It was like a retweet,” Trump later said on Fox News, “I would never say a word like that.”
Trump’s most recent and egregious use of “many people are saying” popped up Monday on Twitter, when he insinuated—without saying himself—that Iran had executed scientist Shahram Amiri because of emails stored on Hillary Clinton‘s private servers.
Many people are saying that the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the U.S. because of Hillary Clinton's hacked emails.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2016
This is a serious claim, also repeated by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) recently, but the Washington Post reports it’s also untrue. Trumped up, if you will.
Although Trump has claimed “many people are saying” before, the latest incident spawned a jokey hashtag that points out just how easy it is to abuse the “many people” trope without providing proof or specifics.
So #manypeoplearesaying a lot of negative things about Donald Trump on Twitter today. But you can’t blame them! This stuff is just on everyone’s lips these days, you know?
— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) August 9, 2016
— 𝗝.𝗠. 𝗕𝗘𝗥𝗚𝗘𝗥 #readoptimal (@intelwire) August 9, 2016
— Tom Randall (@tsrandall) August 8, 2016
Many people are also saying that a very sad incident occurred on the set of beloved ’80s sitcom Mr. Belvedere:
Sadly, the guy who played Mr. Belvedere passed away in 2001. However, the Daily Dot has reached out to the Guy Who Plays Mr. Belvedere Fan Club for comment on what people are saying.