On June 27, 2022, the Taunt the Elephant Facebook page posted a doctored photograph from a campaign rally for former U.S. President Donald Trump. According to the post, the Trump campaign had officially released the picture, which showed the same group of audience members four different times throughout the crowd. The caption for the photograph read, “Official Trump rally photo where they had the largest crowd* ever, period.” The asterisk was linked to the words, “of quadruplets.”
The caption’s use of the phrase “the largest crowd ever, period” was a reference to January 2017 remarks by former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. During Trump’s first week as president, Spicer fiercely defended the size of the crowd at Trump’s presidential inauguration after pictures appeared to show the ceremony for former U.S. President Barack Obama had drawn comparatively more people.
There’s no evidence of Trump or his team promoting the photograph via official channels, despite the caption’s implication that that had happened. Here’s the simple reason why that was the case: The Taunt the Elephant Facebook page hosts satirical and comedic content. Using Facebook’s various categories for pages, administrators labeled it a “Comedian,” with the following caption: “Fighting the GOP with sarcasm, irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes, and satire.”
In other words, no, the doctored photo was not an “Official Trump rally photo.” The original source of the digital art was a photograph taken at a Trump rally in Wellington, Ohio, on June 26, 2021. Former Trump advisor Dan Scavino tweeted that image in its original, unedited form:
At his first rally since leaving the White House, former President Donald Trump on Saturday lambasted the Biden administration’s immigration policies and sought to energize Republicans to take back majorities in Congress next year.
Appearing to relish being back in front of thousands of supporters, Trump repeated his false claim that his defeat in the November 2020 election was marred by fraud.
Trump left office in the aftermath of the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters, shortly after a speech in which he urged a crowd to “fight” when then President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was about to be certified by lawmakers.
In sum, the so-called “Official Trump rally photo” that was clearly altered to show the same group of Trump supporters in several locations throughout a crowd was not actually promoted by the former president or his team, and originated from a source that concentrates on comedy, parody, and satire.
“How Many People Attended Trump Rally in Wellington, Ohio? Check It Out.” UnitedStatesHub.Org, https://www.unitedstateshub.org/2021/06/how-many-people-attended-trump-rally-in-wellington-ohio.html.
Layne, Nathan. “At Ohio Rally, Trump Knocks Biden on Border, Hints at 2024 Plans.” Reuters, 27 June 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/trump-revenge-tour-kicks-off-with-saturday-rally-ohio-2021-06-26/.
Scavino, Dan. Twitter, 26 June 2021, https://twitter.com/danscavino/status/1408966050285338624.