Back to Africa Check

No, Trump tweet praising Kenyan leaders is fake

A screenshot of what seems to be a tweet by US president Donald Trump, praising Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga, has been shared on Facebook.

“I've had an interesting conversation with the President of Kenya,” it reads. “Great Man. VERY Sharp. Many good things about Africa and the Handshake is the best of them all. Crazy @SpeakerPelosi and Shifty and do nothing Democrats should talk to @RailaOdinga. VERY INTELLIGENT.”

The “handshake” refers to Kenyatta’s pact with Odinga, leader of the Orange Democratic Movement, which led to the Building Bridges Initiative to unite Kenyans.

The tweet attacks US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi while advising her Democratic Party to speak to Raila.

The screenshot was shared with the comment: “US president Donald Trump talking about BBI building bridges initiative and at the same time rebuking and attacking Nancy Perosi and Democrats. I now agree the US should learn building bridges from Kenyans.”

It was posted in early February 2020, when Kenyatta and Odinga were visiting the US for a prayer breakfast.

Hints towards fake tweet

Trump met Kenyatta on 7 February 2020 at the White House, but the US president didn’t tweet anything about the meeting. 

And there are a number of signs that the tweet is fake.

It shows a pair of retweets and likes in different formats on the same screen. A real tweet will only show one set of retweets and likes.

“Retweets” and “likes” are represented by symbols and only appear in text when the tweet is opened. The “follow” button does not appear on a tweet, but next to the profile picture.

Trump’s tweets usually carry the text “Twitter for iPhone” next to the date.

Another hint that the tweet is fake is the way the number of “likes” and “retweets” are displayed. On Twitter, thousands are shown with the letter “K”.

So instead of “426,628 Retweets 2,226,654 Likes”, as shown in the screenshot, a real tweet would simply have “426.6K Retweets” and “2.2M Likes”.

No evidence on Twitter

A Twitter search for the tweet returned no results. The date on the tweet on the screenshot is 7 February 2020. But there is no such tweet on Trump’s Twitter timeline

Trump has made social media his platform of choice for comments on US policy, politicians, celebrities and news events. His tweets inevitably make news on major news outlets.

This tweet, praising Kenyatta and Odinga, didn’t make it onto the journalistic radar. That’s a sign that it’s fake. And it also means it’s highly unlikely that Trump tweeted and later deleted it.

We can only conclude that it is a fake tweet. – Dancan Bwire


Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.