Why was Eric Trump addressed in public

Too funny to be true: Trump doesn't say "President Mozzarella"

21.10.2019 – 16:26

dpa fact check

Berlin (ots)

He has already mistaken the anniversary of the terrorist attacks in the United States for a supermarket chain, and inadvertently turned US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper into "Esperanto". So why shouldn't US President Donald Trump also simply call his Italian colleague Sergio Mattarella “President Mozzarella”? At least that is maliciously accused of him on the net.

EVALUATION: During Mattarella's visit to Trump, the word “mozzarella” was never mentioned in public. However, due to the technically inadequate word recognition, the expression has to be read several times in automatically generated transcripts of the distributed videos.

FACTS: Italy's Head of State Sergio Mattarella is visiting the White House in Washington on October 16, 2019 as part of his US trip. In the media, he meets US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, at an official press conference and at a reception.

Even before the encounters, people on social media are thievingly looking forward to a false tongue on the US President. One user tweeted: "The chances that Trump will call the Italian President Sergio Mattarella" President Mozzarella "are 60 percent. 40 percent that he calls him "President Mortadella". " (http://dpaq.de/TMLt8)

Although some users also find that Trump did not call his colleague “mozzarella” at all, the false claim that he did this several times is prevailing. The thesis is spreading like wildfire around the world in social networks, often in combination with the Italian translator's supposedly shocked facial expression. The fact that none of these alleged occasions were captured by cameras does not seem to matter.

Among other things, detailed videos of the three media encounters can be found on the YouTube channel of the White House - the meeting in the Oval Office (http://dpaq.de/ZDPe1), the press conference (http://dpaq.de/pvdVl) as well as the reception (http://dpaq.de/cgehR).

In the scene in the Oval Office you can see that the translator often follows Trump's remarks in a concentrated manner and then translates into Italian. At no point does the US President mention his colleague by name in this video, as can also be read from the official transcript of the White House (http://dpaq.de/VUsZp). Rather, he usually calls him “President of Italy”.

At the press conference and at the reception, however, Trump mentions Mattarella's name several times - and pronounces it correctly in each case. The US fact checkers from «Snopes» have put together the sequences in a short video: http://dpaq.de/NWkXu

But where does the claim that Trump said “mozzarella” come from? Possibly from a generated transcript of the scenes. Youtube offers this on its platform. To do this, an algorithm automatically converts the language into writing. This is not entirely error-free, as expressions that are unusual to English ears are also reproduced as another word known to the algorithm.

For example, Trump's “President Mattarella also discussed ...” becomes a “President Maduro ella also discussed ...” (http://dpaq.de/G7rxI) in the transcript at about 5:47 in the video of the press conference.

In the same transcript, the word “mozzarella” actually appears twice - but both times in places where Trump does not speak at all. A translator brings questions from Italian reporters in English. However, both at minute 32:26 (http://dpaq.de/Chzxf) and at minute 42:27 (http://dpaq.de/zVtqt) it can be clearly understood that the translator actually says «Mattarella».

Even if he did not address the Italian president by the name of a cheese, embarrassment of this kind is not uncommon for the US president. For example, once for the date of the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, he mistakenly used “7/11” instead of “9/11” (http://dpaq.de/CL8Qf). “7-Eleven” is a US supermarket chain.

And only recently he wrongly named the US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in a tweet from October 19, which has since been deleted (archived here: http://dpaq.de/YuS4b), “Mark Esperanto”, like the international artificial language.



Video of the meeting in the Oval Office on October 16: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elxUuayEuOA

Video of the press conference on October 16: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMICO8tp3wA

Video of reception on October 16: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kdBWdfX1w0

White House transcript of the meeting in the Oval Office: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-president-mattarella-italian-republic-bilateral-meeting/

White House transcript on reception: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-president-mattarella-italian-republic-reception/

User tweet before Trump-Mattarella press conference: https://twitter.com/TurnUp_TheTweet/status/1184534253071192064 (archived: http://dpaq.de/TMLt8)

Trump on terror attack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aj_IsiMA4G4

Trump tweet about Mark Esper (archived): http://dpaq.de/YuS4b

US fact checker «factcheck.org» about Trump / «Mozzarella»: https://www.factcheck.org/2019/10/viral-posts-fabricate-a-president-mozzarella-gaffe/

US fact checker “Snopes” about Trump / “Mozzarella”: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-italy-mozzarella-president/


Contact the dpa fact check team: [email protected]

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