At 12:25 p.m. on February 2, President Trump posted a story on his official Facebook page which contended that Kuwait issued a visa ban for five Muslim-majority countries.
Trump’s post, which is still up as of Sunday morning, read: “Smart!
'Kuwait issues its own Trump-esque visa ban for five Muslim-majority countries | Al Bawaba,’” citing the source of the information.
It has some 250,000 likes,over 68,000 shares, and was picked up by Breitbart and Infowars. But there’s one problem: Kuwait denies that anything of this sort ever took place.
The foreign ministry of the Middle Eastern country "categorically denies these claims and affirms that these reported nationalities ... have big communities in Kuwait and enjoy full rights," according to a Sunday morning report in Reuters.
The story shared by Trump had alleged that “Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, Pakistanis and Afghans will not be able to obtain visit, tourism or trade Kuwaiti visas with the news coming one day after the US slapped its own restrictions on seven Muslim-majority countries.” The story in the Jordanian news outlet Al Bawaba did not have an official statement or order from the Kuwaiti government—nor from any of the countries it said were facing a ban.
It then went from Trump’s mouth to his most fervent online support base’s ears.
On February 2, the conspiracy-hub InfoWars ran with the story citing reporting by Sputnik International, a Russian-government news agency.
Sputnik did in fact have a story on their site as well, but later issued a correction saying “the following news article proved to be untrue.” They cited a denial by Ghulam Dastagir, Pakistan’s ambassador in Kuwait. (Pakistan was listed as one of the five alleged countries under the false visa ban).
Similarly Breitbart, a predominantly pro-Trump outlet whose CEO Steve Bannon is now a White House counselor, published a story on the unverified ban citing Trump’s own original source.
As of Sunday morning, Breitbart, Infowars and the President of the United States have not issued corrections or amendments to their posts about the story.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.