Fact Check

Did Pope Francis Slap Away President Trump's Hand?

A papal video clip mocked President Trump's perceived icy relationship with his wife, Melania.

Published May 26, 2017

 (Flickr/Long Thiên)
Image Via Flickr/Long Thiên
A video shows Pope Francis slapping away President Trump's hand.

A short clip purportedly showing Pope Francis slapping away President Trump's hand during a photo-op at the Vatican was widely shared on social media on 24 May 2017:

This video does not show a real interaction between Donald Trump and Pope Francis.

One clue that the video is fake is the sleeves of both men. In the wide shot, the Pope's sleeve is longer, nearly covering his fingers, and Trump's jacket sleeve completely covers his white shirtsleeve. In the "closeup," however, the Pope's sleeve is shorter and Trump's shirtsleeve is visible:

Aside from the shirtsleeves, the source of the clip -- the late night television show Jimmy Kimmel Live -- clearly indicated that it was created in jest. The clip mocks Trump's perceived icy relationship with his wife, Melania, who was taped slapping Trump's hand away earlier in the week.

The clip can be glimpsed at the 1:30 mark of the following video:

Kimmel wasn't the only one to make a joke video with Pope Francis' slapping away Trump's hand. Jimmy Fallon used a similar clip on an episode of the Tonight Show:

This video, of course, is also fake.

Although these clips may appear obviously fake when viewed in the context of late night television, many people shared edited versions which featured just the "hand slapping" moment. The real footage of President Trump's meeting with the Pope, however, does not include any such hand slapping:


Green, Emma.   "Pope Francis, Trump Whisperer?"     The Atlantic   24 May 2017.

Bennett, Kate.   "After Monday's 'Hand Swat,' Tuesday the Trumps Make a Show of Togetherness ... Sort of."     CNN   23 May 2017.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.