Let’s face it: President Trump is obsessed with big things, the biggest things, and he loves bragging about it. From hyping the grandeur of his signature border project (“I will build a great wall”) to exaggerating the size of his inauguration crowd (“I had the biggest crowd in history”) and limning his own attributes (“My fingers are long and beautiful”), issues of scale and proportion are always in his mind.
In other words, for the Donald, size matters. So began a regular theme of the Trump administration and his supporters. That explains why they keep mistaking photos of Cleveland sports fans for the president’s backers.
Following Trump’s Phoenix rally Tuesday evening, a picture started circulating on Twitter purporting to show massive crowds at the president’s campaign-style event. According to HuffPost, one account, @TEN_GOP, a self-described “Unofficial Twitter of Tennessee Republicans” with more than 73,000 followers, grabbed the image and fashioned it into a now-deleted tweet:
The post was retweeted “800 times and liked more than 1,000 times,” AZCentral.com reported. The Daily Beast said Wednesday that conservative pundit Ann Coulter and other right-wing personalities retweeted the item.
“Please look at this! The Beatles never had crowds like this! This is US! This is USA! This is Trump!” one user wrote, according to the Daily Beast.
But here’s the problem: The image was not from the Phoenix Trump event — or any Trump event.
The image on the left is from the Cavs parade 2016 pic.twitter.com/rq5xre6OJb
— tramosUSA (@voteblue16) August 22, 2017
In reality, the massive crowd was photographed on June 22, 2016, in Cleveland, where fans came out to celebrate the Cavaliers’ NBA Championship. The images capture fans — many wearing Cavs wine and gold jerseys and T-shirts — milling about as LeBron James, Kevin Love and other players inch by in a motorcade.
The goof became evident Tuesday night when most of the retweets were deleted. @TEN_GOP apologized, and the entire account was deleted by Wednesday.
“And frankly, anyone who is at all familiar with Phoenix should have known better. It’s a desert, people,” AZCentral.com chided readers Wednesday. “Who really thought Phoenix had that much green?”
But this is not the first time the NBA championship parade has been hijacked to hype a Trump rally.
Last August, Breitbart wrote up a Trump campaign rally in Jacksonville, Fla.; the piece — “Trump’s Jacksonville Rally Draws 15,000″ — was topped with a different photo from the NBA championship celebration. After MediaMatters called out the website, Breitbart swapped the image and put a correction on the piece: “A photograph that was incorrectly attributed on social media to the rally in Jacksonville has been removed.”