The US Department of Education suffered an embarrassment on Sunday, when a tweet published to its official account misspelled the surname of the African American author and civil rights activist WEB Du Bois.
“Education must not simply teach work,” the tweet said, “it must teach life. W.E.B. DeBois.”
The error, coming during Black History Month, did not go unnoticed. Chelsea Clinton, daughter of beaten presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, asked: “Is it funny sad or sad funny that our Dept of Education misspelled the name of the great W. E. B. Du Bois?”
The apology was subsequently corrected, and the first apology tweet deleted. The first tweet about Du Bois was not immediately deleted.
The invented quote and misspelled name were the latest Black History Month embarrassments for the Trump administration. At a White House “listening session” with African American community leaders on 1 February, Donald Trump appeared not to be aware that Frederick Douglass, the 19th-century champion of emancipation, was dead.
“Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice,” he said.
Even the Vice-President tweeted some embarrassing errors.”
Lincoln was being tweeted about by Republicans again on Sunday, the 208th anniversary of his birth. The Twitter account of the Republican party posted a quote that it falsely attributed to the 16th president.
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count,” wrote @GOP. “It’s the life in your years.”
There is no evidence that Lincoln said this. The quote has been traced only as far back as 1952 speeches by former Illinois governor and presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson and to advertisements from the 1940s, rather than to Lincoln’s lifetime in the mid-19th century.