After an Ireland-centric day including meetings with its Prime Minster 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.
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.
Awkward. Rethinking those proposed budget cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts yet?