A photo connecting President Donald Trump to a white nationalist and member of the so-called “alt-right” went viral on Friday — only there was one massive problem.
Raf Sanchez, a reporter for England-based news outlet The Telegram, tweeted the false photo on Saturday amid racially charged protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. The protests began after white nationalists and members of the “alt-right” rallied on Friday night in protest of plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in the city.
The photo, tweeted around 5:40 p.m. EST on Saturday, showed Trump with a member of the alt-right known by his online name as “Millennial_Matt.”
— Raf Sanchez (@rafsanchez) August 12, 2017
Given the day’s events, which included a domestic terror attack that resulted in the death of one person, the idea that Trump may have taken a photo with a member of the alt-right was significant. Added to that, was the fact that Trump didn’t immediately denounce white nationalism while speaking about the Charlottesville unrest during a press conference held Saturday afternoon.
It was also significant because it appears that “Millennial_Matt” attended the rally on Friday night, which many equated with the white supremacist rallies of the 20th century.
However, the photo wasn’t all it was made out to be. In fact, the photo is completely false and was photoshopped.
According to Sanchez, who later issued a correction tweet, the photo that he originally tweeted is the current Twitter profile picture of “Millennial_Matt,” but it’s not real.
Early on Sunday morning, Sanchez tweeted the original photo, which definitely does not show “Millennial_Matt” with Trump.
It appears @millenial_matt's profile picture is photoshopped. Here's the original Trump picture. pic.twitter.com/OClcOFbZ2w
— Raf Sanchez (@rafsanchez) August 13, 2017
But the damage was already done. Sanchez’s first tweet garnered nearly 28,000 retweets and nearly 34,000 “likes.” His correction? Just a fraction of that: 500 retweets.