FACT CHECK: Image Claims To Show Donald Trump Waiting To Welcome U.S. Hostages After Holding 4 Campaign Rallies

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook over 760 times purportedly shows President Donald Trump waiting at the airport to welcome three U.S. hostages rescued in Nigeria on Oct. 31 after holding four campaign rallies.

Verdict: False

While Trump did hold four rallies on Oct. 31, the photo actually shows Trump waiting for U.S. detainees from North Korea in 2018.

Fact Check:

The Nov. 2 Facebook post features a photo of Trump sitting next to a window, allegedly waiting for the arrival of three hostages rescued from Nigeria on Oct. 31. “This man did 4 rallies on Saturday,” the image’s caption reads. “He is 74. Did he go to bed afterwards? No. After being up for 20 hrs, this is a photo of him waiting at the airport until 2am to welcome home 3 American hostages whom our Navy Seals just rescued in Nigeria.”

Navy SEALs rescued U.S. citizen Philipe Walton early Oct. 31 from a group of armed captors in northern Nigeria, ABC News reported. Walton had been kidnapped from his farm in the neighboring country of Niger a few days prior on Oct. 27, according to The Associated Press.

Trump did hold four campaign rallies in Pennsylvania the day of the rescue mission, per The New York Times. The image, however, was actually taken more than two years ago while Trump waited for three U.S. detainees in North Korea to arrive in the U.S. as part of a “gesture of goodwill” from the country, the Washington Post reported.

Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found the photo on the stock photo website Alamy, with the caption: “U.S. President Donald Trump aboard Marine One after landing at Joint Base Andrews to welcome home three American detainees May 10, 2018 in Clinton, Maryland. Three detainees were released include Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song as a gesture of goodwill ahead of the planned meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.” Trump shared a video of the reunion on Twitter the same day.

Check Your Fact found no media reports of Trump meeting Walton in the U.S. after he was rescued. In fact, The Associated Press reported that following the rescue mission in Nigeria, Walton returned to his home in Niger, not the U.S. (RELATED: Did Donald Trump Tweet That He Had ‘The Most Coronavirus’? )

Trump celebrated Walton’s rescue on Twitter the day it occurred. “Last night, our Country’s brave warriors rescued an American hostage in Nigeria,” the tweet reads. “Our Nation salutes the courageous soldiers behind the daring nighttime rescue operation and celebrates the safe return of yet another American citizen!”

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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