FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Trump Speaking To The Military In January 2021?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows former President Donald Trump speaking to members of the U.S. military in January 2021.

Verdict: False

The photo was not taken in 2021. Instead, it shows Trump speaking to troops on Christmas Eve in 2017.

Fact Check:

The Facebook post, which includes a photo of Trump participating in a video call with U.S. service members, claims that the picture was “taken 2 days ago in Mar Lago.” It also says, “Patriots in control.” (RELATED: Does This Video Show Donald Trump Greeting National Guard Members In DC?)

Baseless conspiracy theories that Trump or the military is secretly in control of the government have been circulating online, Reuters reported. Trump left Washington and traveled to his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on Jan. 20, the same day President Joe Biden was inaugurated, according to The Associated Press.

While the image does show Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort, it was not taken in 2021. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact discovered the picture actually dates back to 2017. It can be found on the stock photo website Alamo, where the caption states it was taken on Christmas Eve that year.

“U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to service members deployed overseas via an online video to wish them a Merry Christmas from his private resort Mar-a-Lago December 24, 2017 in Palm Beach, Florida,” the caption reads in part.

On Christmas Eve in 2017, Trump spoke to members of the military stationed overseas via video hook-up, according to The Washington Post and The Associated Press. The verified Trump White House and U.S. Navy Twitter accounts tweeted the same photo on Dec. 24 and Dec. 26, 2017, respectively.

“#ICYMI: The crew of the #USSSampson #DDG102 received personal Christmas wishes from @POTUS @realDonaldTrump on Christmas Eve,” the U.S. Navy tweeted.

Other fact-checkers have addressed erroneous claims that the U.S. military seized power. Check Your Fact previously debunked a social media post alleging Trump had invoked the Insurrection Act of 1807 in a bid to stay in office.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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