​VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Trump did NOT call Aquino, Trillanes sh*tholes

An impostor website called Telegraph ran a fake story claiming U.S. President Donald Trump called former Philippine president Benigno Aquino III and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV “sh*tholes.”

Following a reader’s tip, VERA Files Fact Check looked into the Jan. 15 story, “There Are Two Other Sh*tholes in the Philippines—Trump,” which claimed Trump called Trillanes and Aquino “sh*tholes” who “can’t give President Rodrigo Duterte the peace of mind to deliver to his people.”

The story is fake. No legitimate local or international news website reported it.

Telegraph is hosted on “telegraph-tv.com,” which appears to mimic British broadsheet The Telegraph, whose website is “telegraph.co.uk.”

Tweaking domain names by adding characters like “-tv” is a common scheme impostor sites use to trick readers into believing they are genuine news sources, as in the case of “aljazeeranews-tv.com” and “france24-tv.com,” two fake news sites that mimicked media outfits Al-Jazeera and France-24. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: News on Duterte’s ICC trial fake and THIS WEEK IN FAKE NEWS: There is NO news site Aljazeera-tv.com)

Also telltale signs of a bogus website: no About Us and Contact Us pages, among others.

The Telegraph fake report was shared on Facebook by “TEAM DUTERTE FOR FEDERALISM,” a page with more than 149,000 followers.

It circulated following outrage against Trump’s racially charged Jan. 11 remark calling Haiti, El Salvador and poorer African countries “sh*thole countries.”

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative.)

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