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This photo has been doctored to include a tear on Donald Trump’s face

Copyright AFP 2017-2020. All rights reserved.

A photo has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Twitter and various Chinese social media platforms alongside a claim that it shows US President Donald Trump “crying in public” after he lost the 2020 US presidential election. The claim is false; the image is actually an AFP photo taken before the 2020 election that has been doctored to include a single tear on Trump’s face.

The photo was published here on Twitter on November 14, 2020. It has been shared more than 1,000 times.

A screenshot, taken on November 26, 2020, of the misleading post.



The simplified Chinese-language tweet translates to English as: “Things must be hard for him for him to cry in public. I hope we all do not let him down! May God be with us! Amen!” 

The post was shared shortly after Joe Biden won the 2020 US presidential election. Despite Biden being declared winner of the election on November 7, Trump has refused to concede and continues to make baseless claims of election fraud, as reported by AFP.

Comments from some Twitter users in response to the misleading post suggested they believed the photo was genuine.

One user wrote: “Trump is a tough guy, he isn’t just crying because he is being falsely accused. His tears represent his heart for the people, he has finally been understood and received the support of his people.”

Another commented: “A man rarely shows his vulnerability…he must have experienced something difficult for him to show tears”.

A selection of comments, taken on November 26, 2020, under the misleading tweet.

The photo, and similar misleading claims, were also published here, here, here, here, here and here on Twitter; here and here on Weibo; here on the Chinese messaging app QQ; here on Sina.

The claim is false; the photo has been doctored.

A combined keyword and reverse image search found the original photo was taken by an AFP photographer in July 2020, as seen here.

The AFP photo does not show any tears on Trump’s face.

Screenshot, taken on November 27, 2020, of the original AFP photo on its website.

The photo description states, in part: “US President Donald Trump speaks to the press in the Oval Office at the White House after receiving a briefing from top law enforcement officials on operations against the MS-13 gang in Washington, DC, on July 15, 2020.”

MS-13, or the Mara Salvatrucha, is an international criminal gang believed to have originated in Los Angeles in the 1980s, according to this US Justice Department report.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the image in the misleading tweet (L) and AFP photo (R):

A screenshot comparison of the image in the misleading tweet (L) and the AFP photo (R).

The misleading claim was also debunked by the Taiwan Factcheck Centre here on November 17, 2020.

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