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Sen. Cory Booker uses fake Benjamin Franklin quote to criticize Trump

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Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., questions Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 11, 2017 at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) used his Twitter account on Monday to criticize President Donald Trump and indicated he was quoting one of the country's founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin. "It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority," the quote read.

The only problem? There's no actual evidence to suggest Franklin ever said it.

The Daily Caller News Foundation, which uncovered the fake quote, spoke with Franklin scholar and chair of Baylor University Department of Management Dr. Blaine McCormick. McCormick told the Daily Caller that the quote was indeed a "hoax."

After explaining that the way the sentence is worded simply doesn't reflect 18th-century language, McCormick also told the DCNF that the idea of questioning authority was not even a commonly-held belief in Franklin's time.

"'Questioning authority' is a much more modern idea. Franklin was more into 'rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God,'" McCormick said. "Whoever perpetrated this particular hoax would have helped themselves by at least penning, "Tis the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority" to Franklin instead.

The Daily Caller also reported that after sending an email to Booker's office, they only received a "sarcastic reply" from Booker's communications director Jeff Giertz. "As Ben Franklin may or may not have said, ‘to err is human; to forgive, divine.'"

As of Tuesday afternoon, the tweet still appeared on Booker's official Twitter account, and had been retweeted more than 4,000 times. It was sandwiched between a quote from Leonardo da Vinci and one from Malcolm X. Both quotes appear to be attributed to the correct people.

Though Booker has been rumored to be considering a 2020 presidential run, he appeared to shut those rumors down on Saturday. Booker told CNN at the Women's March in Washington, D.C., he would not consider the option because he needed to focus on defeating Trump's agendas.

"Too many things can happen that can hurt people in our nation and around the globe if this President isn't checked," Booker told CNN. "Right now, I don't care about 2020. I don't care about 2018."

"I am not open to being president. I don't even want to have the discussion right now," he said.
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