Commuters in downtown Washington, D.C. were greeted with a jarring sight Wednesday morning: Activists distributed fake copies of The Washington Post announcing President Donald Trump’s resignation.
The satirical copies, for which the prank group The Yes Men claimed responsibility, were spotted downtown, and social media users reported seeing copies distributed outside the Farragut North Metro station, in front of the White House and in congressional office buildings, where the progressive group Code Pink distributed copies.
A satirical website for the fake Post was launched Wednesday morning but removed by noon, according to DCist.
The real Washington Post said they have nothing to do with the fake Post and website.
“There are fake print editions of The Washington Post being distributed around downtown DC, and we are aware of a website attempting to mimic The Post’s. They are not Post products, and we are looking into this,” The Post’s PR department said.
The fake copies of the Post blared a banner headline across the top of the paper reading, “UNPRESIDENTED: Trump Hastily Departs White House, Ending Crisis,” and featured a collection of stories describing a scenario in which Trump is pushed out of office, flees to the Crimean city of Yalta and Vice President Mike Pence is sworn into office.
The edition dated May 1, 2019 featured a spin on the Post’s “Democracy Dies in Darkness” slogan and described global celebrations as Trump left office, as well as how women’s movements turned public opinion against the president.
The Yes Men group said on its website that it worked with authors Onnesha Roychoudhuri and L.A. Kauffman to create and distribute the paper copies.
“The story this paper tells is more reasonable than our current reality,” Roychoudhuri said on the site. “And it’s anything but far-fetched. We’re already seeing unprecedented levels of protest and resistance. Now we just need to ask ourselves: What’s next? This paper offers a blueprint to help us reclaim our democracy.”
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The eight-page document was filled with stories describing slates of progressive legislation, like a Green New Deal, and descriptions of how social progressive movements could resist the Trump administration.
Social media users, including Post employees, reacted with shock, as well as curiosity into who produced the paper.
Though progressive groups like MoveOn and Code Pink celebrated the prank on social media, they denied being responsible for it.
“While we love the headline, we didn't produce today's satirical Washington Post,” MoveOn said on Twitter.