Fact Check: Photos Do NOT Document Donald Trump Kissing Melania And Ivanka On The Mouth -- Timing And Angles Mislead

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Photos Do NOT Document Donald Trump Kissing Melania And Ivanka On The Mouth -- Timing And Angles Mislead Cheek Kisses

Do two photos posted to social media accurately document that Donald Trump kisses both his wife and his daughter on the mouth, the latter more warmly? No, that's not true: Although there is no evidence of photo manipulation, neither photo fully captures either of the kisses. In both cases, Donald Trump was photographed in the process of planting a peck on the cheek of his wife Melania, and of his daughter Ivanka. The photos, taken about 16 months apart, were selected from the precise moment and angle where the profiles, and lips, seem to touch -- but video footage from the events shows that in both instances Trump's kisses were planted on the cheek, not the lips.

These two photos began to circulate as a meme in November of 2017. The meme resurfaced in a post (archived here) published on May 3, 2024 in the 'Red Green Show Fan Club' Facebook group. The photos are marked "his wife" and "his daughter" and text at the top of the meme reads:

Let's see how many people I can piss off today😃

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon May 6 16:21:34 2024 UTC)

The picture on the left (above) was taken on November 7, 2017, at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, when then-president Trump and the first lady arrived in South Korea. The photo by an AFP photographer in the Getty Images collection is captioned:

TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump and First Lady Meliana kiss upon arriving in Osan on November 7, 2017. - Donald Trump's marathon Asia tour moves to South Korea, another key ally in the struggle with nuclear-armed North Korea, but one with deep reservations about the US president's strategy for dealing with the crisis. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP)
The scene of the welcoming ceremony on the tarmac was captured from a slightly different angle in this video footage posted by Euronews YouTube on November 7, 2017. At the 0:19 second mark in the video, as the president and first lady part ways, they exchanged a quick peck on the cheek. (0:22 seconds, pictured below). Trump did not kiss the first lady on the lips at this time. The composite image below shows the same moment captured from two different angles.
(Image source: Lead Stories composite image with YouTube and azcentral.com screenshots taken on Mon May 06 18:15:24 2024 UTC)
The photo on the right side showing Trump and his daughter Ivanka, was taken at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 21, 2016. Ivanka gave a 15-minute-long speech introducing her father. She walked to greet him as he entered the stage and they exchanged kisses, first on the right and then on the left cheeks. Lead Stories was unable to find a credited copy of the photo that appears in the meme, but it does not appear to be manipulated. It compares with many other images of the two on stage that night. As with the photo of Melania, it appears to have captured a moment in time from a certain angle where Ivanka's profile aligned with her father's, although in reality there was more distance between their faces. A reverse image search with Google Lens and TinEye shows that this photo (inset below) did appear online just after the convention.

(Lead Stories composite image with YouTube and imgflip screenshots taken on Mon May 06 20:04:42 2024 UTC)
In the composite image above, the moment is shown from two slightly different angles. Using the shadows cast on Trump's face as a reference, the moment can be pinpointed to the 15:49 minute mark (above left) from the Fox News video posted on YouTube. This is the moment after the right cheek kiss as they begin to switch sides, their faces are not touching. Another angle of the moment is captured at the 15:16 minute mark of a CNN video. There was no kiss on the lips. The left-cheek kiss, immediately after this moment is pictured in a Getty Image captioned:

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) kisses his daughter Ivanka Trump as he enters the stage on the last day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. / AFP / Jim WATSON

Additional Lead Stories fact checks on claims involving Donald Trump can be found here.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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