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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Picture Does NOT Show Melania Trump Hosting Military Moms

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Mon, 13 May 2019 12:07:34 Z)

Does a viral photo show Melania Trump hosting military moms at the White House in 2019 and is there a disturbing lack of non-caucasian people in the photo? No, that's not true: the picture does not show Melania Trump, it was not taken this year and it wasn't even taken at the White House. It shows Ivanka Trump at an event in 2018 where she was invited to speak (i.e. she was not hosting it).

The picture recently went viral again through a Facebook post (archived here) on The Other 98% where it was published on May 12, 2019. The caption on the image read:

"The military moms Melania Trump hosted today. What's wrong with this picture?

Screenshot of https://www.facebook.com/TheOther98/photos/a.115969958413991/3282482121762743

Many comments on the image were remarking there was a lack of racial diversity in the photo:


There are several things wrong with the picture, but most of them have to do with the caption and the context.

  • It does not show Melania Trump (it shows Ivanka Trump)
  • It wasn't taken today (or in 2019)
  • Melania/Ivanka were not hosting the event in question so they had nothing to do with who was or wasn't present.
  • The group hosting the event consisted of military spouses, not moms.

So, what did actually happen? Melania Trump did host an event for military mothers at the White House on May 10, 2019.

Military moms get a Mother's Day salute at the White House

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump honored the nation's military mothers Friday, calling them "the backbone of America." Trump told a group of moms gathered in the East Room of the White House for the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers that their "unwavering dedication and support strengthens our entire nation.

But the picture in question was not taken at this event. It was taken at a lunch event in 2018 named the "Joint Armed Forces of Washington Luncheon" and it shows members of the Air Force Officers' Spouses' Club of Washington, D.C. Here is another picture from that event:

And another one:

And here is one showing Ivanka speaking at the event:

Later in 2018 the group picture in question was used in a tweet claiming it was taken at the White House:

As it was pointed out at the time, the picture was not taken at the White House during the May 11, 2018 event:

There's A Big Problem With That Viral Military Spouse Photo

As a one-time 'Ebola czar' under President Barack Obama, Democratic political operative Ron Klain spent months fighting to stop viral outbreaks. On Friday, though, he found himself in the middle of one.May 11 marked Military Spouse Appreciation Day, which Klain decided to celebrate by bitching about...

The same conclusion was reached by Snopes:

FACT CHECK: Does This Photograph Show Only White Military Spouses at the White House?

On 11 May 2018, political operative Ronald Klain shared an image on Twitter stating that the White House hosted military spouses on that day, but the event did not include people of color: The WH hosted military spouses today. Our armed forces are 40% non-white.

Yet here we are in 2019 and people are using a picture of Ivanka Trump speaking at an event for military spouses she was invited to that took place in The Waterford Springfield hotel in Virginia in 2018 to make comments about Melania Trump hosting an event for military moms in The White House in 2019. Don't fall for it.

About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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