Fact Check

Is This a Photo of Trump with Osama bin Laden?

It's difficult to believe that bin Laden took time to pop over to New York to attend black tie affairs.

Published May 13, 2020

Osama Bin Laden appears on Al-Jazeera Television praising the attacks of September 11th, and defying the United States in its threats to attack Afghanistan's Taliban government, which was playing host to him. Days later the U.S. overthrew the Taliban. (Photo by Maher Attar/Sygma via Getty Images) (Getty Images)
Image Via Getty Images
A photograph shows Donald Trump posing with terrorist Osama bin Laden.

Digitally manipulated images seemingly showing prominent U.S. political figures posing with Osama bin Laden have popped up multiple times here on Snopes.com, including versions picturing the late terrorist mastermind in the company of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the late Sen. John McCain, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Predictably enough, U.S. President Donald Trump got his turn in the spotlight with this picture of him shaking hands with bin Laden, which was shared via social media in May 2020 accompanied by the putative Trump quote, "I knew Osama bin Laden. People loved him. He was a great man that died for a worthy cause":

Even among this class of digital manipulations, this item is one of the more improbable entries, as bin Laden was not known for taking time off from training volunteers to fight against the Soviet-backed regime in eastern Afghanistan in order to pop over to New York to attend black tie affairs.

This image is in fact an altered version of a photograph of Donald Trump and publisher S.I. Newhouse, Jr. attending a Trump book party at Trump Tower in New York City in December 1987:

The quote superimposed over the manipulated image is likewise fake, not a reproduction of anything Trump actually said.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.