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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman March 2, 2021

Photo of faith leaders praying over golden Trump statue is digitally altered

If Your Time is short

  • The image is altered. The real photograph is from January 2020 and shows faith leaders praying with then-President Donald Trump, not the statue. 

Social media users are circulating an image that purportedly shows faith leaders surrounding and praying over a gold-painted statue of former President Donald Trump that appeared at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference.

"Evangelicals literally praying to a golden idol. LITERALLY," one post said, alluding  to the golden calf idol in the Bible’s Old Testament.

"Caption this photo taken today of CPAC’s evangelical leaders. Yes, they are praying to a golden statue of their holy insurrectionist," another reads.

But the image is altered, and the photo it’s based on wasn’t taken in 2021.

The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

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We conducted a reverse-image search, which showed that the original photo depicted Trump meeting with a group of evangelical leaders. In the doctored version, the gold-painted statue was edited in to replace Trump.

The authentic photograph was taken by photographer Marco Bello at an "Evangelicals for Trump" launch event at the King Jesus International Ministry in Miami on Jan. 3, 2020. 

News organizations such as the New York Times and NBC shared images and video of the moment.

These posts are False.

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Photo of faith leaders praying over golden Trump statue is digitally altered

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