The White House published two photos of President Donald Trump "working" in his hospital suite on Saturday night, but metadata from the image files shows that they were taken just 10 minutes apart. Analysts have now determined that the pictures were almost certainly taken in quick succession, with Trump changing his clothes and setting in between, to give the appearance that they were taken throughout the day. These revelations led to the hashtag "Staged" taking over Twitter on Sunday morning.
Image files automatically save data known as EXIF data — exchangeable image file format — to denote when they were taken. This data can only be changed intentionally, and would not have been impacted if Trump's photos were traded between devices or across the cloud. This detail has led many analysts to agree that Trump's team "staged" two pictures of him poring over papers on Saturday night to reassure his supporters that he is still "working," even while hospitalized.
The photos released by the WH tonight of the president working at Walter Reed were taken 10 minutes apart at 5:25:59 pm and 5:35:40 pm ET Saturday, according to the EXIF data embedded in both @AP wire postings that were shared by the White House this evening. pic.twitter.com/EzeqIkGdf7— Jon Ostrower (@jonostrower) October 4, 2020
This story is just one example of the misinformation surrounding Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis over the last few days. Questions have now been raised about when the president tested positive for the virus, how many people he was in contact with, how severe his symptoms were and how he has been treated. On Saturday morning, White House physician Dr. Sean Conley led a press conference outside of Walter Reed Military Medical Center, where he flatly refused to answer many basic questions on the president's condition.
Conley returned to offer more details on Sunday morning, claiming that the president is doing well and providing a bit more detail than the day before. He acknowledged that he had lied by omission on the day before, but had no answer when reporters asked why they should trust him after that.
On Saturday, Conley would not say whether Trump had received supplemental oxygen therapy since contracting COVID-19, and a report by The Associated Press confirmed that he had shortly after. On Sunday, Conley explained that he simply did not want to disrupt the president's "upbeat attitude" by sharing this information.
Meanwhile, Dr. Brian Garibaldi told reporters that he is hopeful Trump can be discharged "as early as" Monday if his condition continues along its current trends. The doctors revealed that Trump is now receiving several medications, including the experimental drug remdesivir, dexamethasone and an antibody cocktail that is still in clinical trials.
The Trump administration has not yet answered questions about the EXIF data on Saturday night's photos or explained what "work" the president is doing inside of the hospital.