Fact Check

Trump Photoshopped His Hands to Look Bigger in White House Photograph?

Despite some convincing photographs on the internet, Donald Trump did not doctor a White House photograph to make his hands look bigger.

Published Jan 27, 2017

Donald Trump doctored a White House photograph to make his hands appear larger.

On 27 January 2017, a set of images purportedly showing Donald Trump with his hand on former President Obama's shoulder was circulated on social media, along with the claim that the President had doctored one of the images to make his hands appear larger:

trumps hands

President Trump's hands do appear larger in the image on the left of the above-displayed graphic, but this is in no way proof that Trump digitally altered the image to make his hands appear larger. 

The biggest problem with this claim is that the graphic displayed here does not use identical images. As these images went viral, more people offered "proof" that Trump had manipulated the image to increase his hand size. Eventually, the "original" Getty photograph was provided as evidence:

comparison photo

Again, however, these images are not identical. Trump's head position, and the position of Obama's free hand, clearly indicate that these images were taken at slightly different times. While these images are similar, potential differences in the camera angle, the distance between the camera and the subjects, the type of lens used, and the moment the photograph was snapped (along with other potential variations in how the photograph was taken) makes it difficult to use these images to judge hand size. 

The image on the left is a screenshot from Trump's interview with ABC News in which the President showed reporter David Muir several pictures that he had hung in the White House. The image can be glimpsed at the 6:30 mark of part five of the linked interview, a screenshot of which is provided below:

abc interview

The image shows a real photograph taken by Getty Images. When the photograph that Trump hung in the White House (shown above) is compared to Getty's photograph, it's clear that Trump's hand size was not, in fact, altered:

hand size compared

We cropped the images to give a closer look at Trump's hands in both pictures:


We also examined the video of Trump bidding farewell to Obama on Inauguration Day, and found that the President's hand was not resting on Obama's shoulder, but that he was patting it as he said goodbye. It's possible that the photograph showing Trump with "bigger hands" was simply taken as Trump's hand was coming off, or landing on, Obama's shoulder, and therefore slightly closer to the camera:


Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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