Well, it's that time of year again. The time where we get another weird, forced photo of Donald and Melania Trump that seems wildly off in multiple ways, just in time for the holidays.
And for their 2020 Christmas portrait—perhaps because this is their last holiday season in the White House—the Trumps have seemingly really gone for the gold on things that make you go "hmm" in their 2020 Christmas portrait.
At least, that seems to be the consensus on Twitter, where eagle-eyed sleuths are calling out the President and First Lady for Photoshopping themselves into the photo entirely.
@FLOTUS @realDonaldTrump I’ve seen some pretty amateur photoshop jobs in my life, but this one takes it to a new le… https://t.co/liKM83siwQ— ally b 🏴🇫🇷🇨🇭🇳🇬 (@ally b 🏴🇫🇷🇨🇭🇳🇬)1608323433.0
The photo, released on Friday, is an annual Christmas tradition in the White House.
Reportedly taken December 10 by photographer Andrea Hanks, the photo features the Trumps posed in matching tuxedos in front of the White House's Grand Staircase, festively decorated with evergreen swags and lights.
But this portrait—like so many other interactions between the President and First Lady—struck many Twitter folks as off-kilter in some key ways. And before long, a forensic investigation ensued that would put Sherlock Holmes to shame.
To these Photoshop detectives, nearly all the finer details of the photo seemed off—like Melania's head, which some thought was superimposed.
@FLOTUS @realDonaldTrump Pretty sure her head is photoshopped in https://t.co/dOOZ86KLQJ— JUiCE at DOG3 📦 (@JUiCE at DOG3 📦)1608322874.0
The First Lady's invisible right arm aroused suspicion too—though of course, it's perfectly plausible that it's just behind her husband's back.
The finer details, too—specifically the shadows—seemed to give away the fact that the photo was faked.
@FLOTUS @TrumpFrance @realDonaldTrump 2/2 Very Bad PhotoShop the shadows on the wall when they are 4 m from the wa… https://t.co/BSHmgfIkQq— C.Boucher (@C.Boucher)1608327951.0
But the biggest red flag that had these Christmas Portrait Truthers sounding alarms was the President's pose and facial expression seemed identical to a previous photo of him.
Although some felt only the heads of one or both Trumps were Photoshopped in.
POTUS' doppelganger was at a dinner with Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall during a state visit to the UK.
@FLOTUS @realDonaldTrump What a lovely photo (shop). Was Donald lifted out of a photo from this same meeting? https://t.co/kvzgSMtxe7— Frank Verderosa (@Frank Verderosa)1608385541.0
Given the President seems not to be looking at the camera in the Christmas portrait, people were left feeling like this entire thing was an elaborate fake.
But an expert on the matter disagrees.
Dylan Reeve, a television editor and post-production supervisor—jobs that rely heavily on image editing skills—told The Daily Dot the finer details of the image don't quite add up to the fakery the internet seems convinced of.
He noted the photo's strange shadows are consistent throughout the image—something an amateur faker would surely mess up—and the President's shirt cuffs, bow tie and cummerbund are noticeably different between the Christmas portrait and the photo from the U.K. dinner.
The couple's seemingly identical poses, too, aren't necessarily indicators of chicanery.
As Reeve put it:
"Both Donald and Melania have very well established poses. Their faces and poses are so well-rehearsed that they frequently look almost identical from image to image, even months or years apart."
But Twitter remains unconvinced, and many were in perplexed by the photo's weird mix of inconsistencies.
@FLOTUS @realDonaldTrump They even lie ON A CHRISTMAS CARD. here's the pic they photo shopped Donnie from. Thanks… https://t.co/hfcG5E8Nql— Angie Pike (@Angie Pike)1608343230.0
@FLOTUS @realDonaldTrump ... is this not photoshopped?— Terron Moore (@Terron Moore)1608367567.0
@FLOTUS @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/0SPJ5Af8Ui— John Pavlovitz (@John Pavlovitz)1608346778.0
@BretHunter9 @FLOTUS @realDonaldTrump Could even stand to be in the same room— TJR (@TJR)1608477239.0
This is worse cgi than young Leia at the end of Rogue One https://t.co/oDrkVcf6HB https://t.co/dwHunA3Qm7— National Lampoon's Vaccination (@National Lampoon's Vaccination)1608414166.0
@FLOTUS @realDonaldTrump Can anyone tell me why they had to photoshop their official christmas portrait instead of… https://t.co/3T7QMSYYlR— TheRealKiesl (@TheRealKiesl)1608401781.0
@LauraWalkerKC Totally photoshop. The harsh line around Melania’s hair is the giveaway, but not the only tell.— EarlOfRochester (@EarlOfRochester)1608337902.0
So I popped into facebook and Fox news posted the Christmas picture of donald and Melania, which was immediately pr… https://t.co/GFbdpop6ON— Lindsey Graham's Fainting Couch (@Lindsey Graham's Fainting Couch)1608552176.0
@RawStory I always thought that Melania herself was just an Avatar included in the PhotoShop program. Like a "photo… https://t.co/obKRNTDOj3— Maxine Barbera (@Maxine Barbera)1608415063.0
For her part, photographer Andrea Hanks has chosen to remain mum about the portrait as of this writing.
So perhaps the internet's Photoshop truthers are on to something.