White House Says Donald Trump Is Working Hard — He Appears To Be Signing Blank Paper
Donald Trump is in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after testing positive for COVID-19, and his team says he’s doing very well. He’s staying in the 6-room presidential suite, and a short video message Saturday followed by a photo show America he’s still carrying out his duties. There’s just one problem — a significant portion of the public doesn’t believe it, and they say there is evidence in the images.
In a photo released to the public, Donald Trump can be seen sitting at a conference table, in a dress shirt, holding a pen and a folder that presumably holds documents he’s perusing. His daughter Ivanka tweeted the photo out, declaring that nothing stops her dad working for the American people. “Relentless!” she concluded! His son Eric tweeted the same photo, along with another, in which Trump is at a different table, this time wearing a suit jacket, with folders spread before him, as he signs a document. Eric praised his father’s work ethic, and “unrelenting drive.”
Nothing can stop him from working for the American people. RELENTLESS! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/2ZSat782qe
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) October 4, 2020
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) October 4, 2020
However, the American people weren’t convinced. Journalists and social media users zoomed in on the photos — and found that Trump is signing what appear to be blank pieces of paper.
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) October 4, 2020
If the Trump team meant to reassure the public that the president is doing well and able to work, it backfired, as social media began to consider the photos staged propaganda.
"The Supreme Leader is giving energetic guidance to the Party and the Armed Forces from his offices at Walter Reed State Sanatorium." https://t.co/eQc3eXfISB
— manu is writing a utopia 🖖 (@trekonomics) October 4, 2020
Jon Ostrower took it a step further, checking EXIF data in the photos and determining that both photos of Trump ‘working’ at two different tables, were taken about ten minutes apart — supporting the idea that they were staged photo ops, not actual candid shots of a working president.
Of course, staging a few photos of document-signing over the course of a few minutes could make more sense in a sickroom with a subject who is suffering from a contagious and deadly virus than sticking around to take multiple photos throughout a workday. If the public didn’t already have reasons to question the information coming out of the Trump Administration about the president’s health, this might not even stand out.
There’s even polling to ask what Trump might be signing if he wasn’t actually signing blank documents.
What blank piece of paper is Trump signing? #staged
— Swing Left (@swingleft) October 4, 2020
Of course, everything being released has been subjected to intense scrutiny.
Whatever happens when Trump says "therapeutics" here is a strange moment in the video he posted this evening pic.twitter.com/TaaG13AH2E
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 4, 2020
Social media users have big theories about what’s going on in the four-minute-long video Donald Trump released Saturday afternoon, in which he says he hopes to be back to normal activities very soon.
There were a couple of morphed sections of that video. They were editing out coughs.
— Angry Staffer (@AngrierWHStaff) October 4, 2020
It's a cut in the video, he probably coughed and they edited out. But you can see the lighting also changes in that moment pic.twitter.com/OqcRJ8VI0a
— David Fodét (@DFodet) October 4, 2020
Viewers are picking apart the photos and videos, and finding several clues that some think hint the video was prerecorded at the White House — they’re comparing cabinets, noting the president wearing the same suit jacket, and questioning whether they see lines on his face from a nasal cannula.
Looks like same jacket & shirt from y/day(surely s/one could've brought a change of clothes)
None of the pics from the WReed rooms have those cabinets
Terrible edit at 1:04 – looks like he almost pukes.
And he seems to not be moving on purpose for easy edits.
— Jade Rhino 👉 Vote Every GOP Out 👈 (@JadeRhinos) October 4, 2020
Not fine. He absolutely pre-recorded his newly released video. The cabinets in his background are WH cabinets and wearing the same jacket he left in. pic.twitter.com/2cCmq1dkkl
— Erica Bouchard (@EricanAdrian) October 3, 2020
Look at the photos of the presidential hospital suite. No white cabinets only dark wood. Same jacket as yesterday sane pale face as yesterday’s video. Not buying this 🤔
— Blondon (@bonnie_london) October 3, 2020
Unfortunately, the truth, with this administration, is hard to get to. They’re not answering direct questions, and Donald Trump has a history of dictating the medical releases his providers share with the public. As reported by NPR in 2018, Dr. Harold Bornstein openly admitted that Trump dictated his 2015 letter declaring then-candidate Trump would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”