Republicans love to remind everybody that they’re the party of Abraham Lincoln. Which is true. But they might want to do a little more research on Honest Abe. Because the GOP Twitter account just tweeted a fake Lincoln quote.
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years,” the quote reads, attributing it to the 16th President of the United States.
The tweet was sent out with a “Happy Birthday” for the President. The only problem? President Lincoln never said this.
In fact, the quote probably originates from the 1940s. As the website Quote Investigator notes, a version of the quote was probably first uttered by a medical doctor named Edward J. Stieglitz, quoted in the Chicago Tribune in 1947.
Quote Investigator tracks the quote in a blog post from 2012, showing how it morphs and is attributed to different people throughout the second half of the 20th century. By the 1980s quotation books were saying that it originated with politician Adlai Stevenson, the US Senator from Illinois.
The earliest person to connect the quote to Lincoln might be in a book from 1997 called God’s Abundance by Kathy Collard Miller. Though it’s possible, if not probable, that Miller wasn’t the first. Either way, it seems that the shift to attributing it to Lincoln most likely occurred sometime in the 1990s.
It’s certainly possible that the quote even predates 1947, but there’s absolutely no evidence that Lincoln ever said it. But with Donald Trump in charge, the GOP doesn’t seem too concerned these days with hiring fact checkers.