In late June 2020, a death hoax targeting U.S President Donald Trump circulated on social media. The post's source was on the famous mobile video app TikTok and it featured a fake New York Times article that claims President Trump died of a drug overdose on June 7, 2020.
The screenshot of the TikTok video made its rounds on Facebook and Twitter. The post read that the President died of a drug overdose on June 7 at around 2:00 am and that the lead investigator Thomas Brigham kept it out of the news.
The article also read that he died due to "hydroxychloroquine" intake. However, the said article is fake. President Trump is not dead and The New York Times did not release an article about his death. The site Snopes did a thorough investigation on the matter and concluded that it was made up and just a sick prank.
If the President of the United States had died, it would immediately be a major news event and it is something that the White House can't hide from the public. Aside from the TikTok video and the fake article, there is no other news outlet reporting the alleged death.
Also, President Trump is very active on his Twitter account. In fact, he was tweeting on the day that he supposedly had died. The White House has not made any announcement and Trump's children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Tiffany Trump had not posted anything as well.
Paul Krugman, whose bylines is on the fake news article on TikTok, is an economist. Even though Krugman writes his opinion on politics and social issues for The New York Times, he is not a breaking news reporter. It is impossible that Krugman would be assigned to write an article of this importance.
The President is not the only one who fell victim on a death hoax as death hoaxes are frequent. Other targets of death hoaxes were WWE wrestler Big Show, actor Chuck Norris and singer Demi Lovato.
Trump's recent activities
On June 20, President Trump held his first rally in three months since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The event was in Tulsa, Oklahoma and it was attended by 6,200 supporters, as reported by The New York Times.
After a week, he went to Arizona to visit the border wall and celebrated its 200-mile completion. He also did a photo-op near the border and signed the wall.
The President then held a rally at the Dream City megachurch and made a speech in front of 3,000 attendees who ignored the local ordinance requiring them to wear a mask despite the plea from the city's Democratic mayor, Mayor Kate Gallego.
The President started his rally 10 minutes early. He talked about the removal of monuments for slave owners and Confederate leaders, calling it as a destruction of American history, according to Politico.
According to the Veteran Memorials Preservation and Recognition, the President claimed on June 22 that those who deface public monuments would receive 10 years in prison, a hefty fine, or both.