Was Donald Trump's 'Irish proverb' actually a verse from a Nigerian poet?

US President Donald Trump delivers remarks alongside Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny at a St. Patrick's Day reception at the White House
US President Donald Trump delivers remarks alongside Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny at a St. Patrick's Day reception at the White House  Credit: Reuters

Donald Trump stressed the importance of America's friendship with Ireland on Thursday, quoting what he said was his favourite "Irish proverb". 

Standing alongside the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny ahead of St Patrick's Day on Friday, the US president said: "As we stand together with our Irish friends, I’m reminded of an Irish proverb – and this is a good one, this is one I like, I’ve heard it for many, many years and I love it. 

"Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue, but never forget to remember those that have stuck by you."

"We know that, politically speaking," he said.

However, while Mr Trump called it "great phrase", the quote puzzled many on social media.

After further investigation,  it was pointed out the words actually came from a poem called "Remember to forget", written by Nigerian Albashir Adam Alhassan. 

The poem is mentioned on various websites as an Irish proverb, such as Pinterest boards, Imgur galleries and a website called "DecentQuotes.com."

It is also featured on a page of ‘St Patrick’s Day blessings’, which also includes such "Irish" phrases as “Dance as if no one were watching”.

Speaking after Mr Trump at the luncheon, where the president had called him a "new friend", Mr Kenny joked: "They say the Irish have the capacity to change everything. I just saw the president of the United States read from his script ... entirely."

US President Donald Trump receives a traditional bowl of shamrocks from Taoiseach of Ireland Enda Kenny Credit: AFP

During the evening St. Patrick's Day reception, Mr Trump hailed the relationship between the two countries and pledged to be "an ever-faithful partner and an always loyal friend."

The pair also participated in the annual shamrock ceremony, a decades-old tradition in which Mr Trump was presented with a bowl of Ireland's famous greens.

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