Congressman Unapologetic Over Fake Obama Picture

GOP's Paul Gosar defiant after posting doctored photo of ex-president, Iranian President Rouhani
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2020 7:43 AM CST
Congressman Unapologetic Over Fake Obama Picture
In this December 2013, file photo, US Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., speaks during a congressional field hearing in Apache Junction, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

(Newser) – A GOP congressman circulated a fake photo of former President Obama on Monday, showing him shaking hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted the photo, adding the caption, "The world is a better place without these guys in power." The photo has long been debunked—Obama and Rouhani never actually met in person—and Rouhani is actually still in power. Per CBS News, the part of the image that shows Obama appears to have been lifted from a 2011 picture of him shaking hands with then-Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The backlash to Gosar's tweet was swift and condemning, including pushback from Democratic Rep. Sean Casten, who called the tweet "irresponsible." "The world would be a better place if elected officials didn't share photoshopped images and take pride in being ignorant," Casten tweeted.

Gosar remained defiant. "No one said this wasn’t photoshopped," he posted. "No one said the president of Iran was dead. No one said Obama met with Rouhani in person. The tweet says: 'the world is a better place without either of them in power.'" (Others replied, again, that Rouhani is still in power). It's not the first time the photo has appeared: Per a 2015 BuzzFeed story, a campaign ad that year for Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson used the same pic. Gosar, who CNN notes has "a history of controversial remarks and actions," has spread other recent "conspiratorial messages," per the Washington Post. In November, he posted an acrostic spelling out "Epstein didn't kill himself," and a tweet insinuating George Soros' son was the Ukraine whistleblower. (Read more Paul Gosar stories.)

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