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US President Donald Trump has been mocked for signing a "blank piece of paper" as he battles coronavirus.
The White House released photos showing the 74-year-old hard at work with a marker at the Walter Reed military hospital.
His daughter Ivanka Trump shared them on Twitter and wrote: “Nothing can stop him from working for the American people. RELENTLESS!”
But her claims backfired after eagle-eyed commentators pointed out the president was pictured in two different places 10 minutes apart.
White House reporter Andrew Feinberg added Trump “appears to be signing his name to a blank sheet of paper”.
The photos were taken during his second night's stay at the hospital following a "very concerning" with the virus.
Jon Ostrower, editor-in-chief of aviation publication The Air Current, said: "The photos released by the WH tonight of the president working at Walter Reed were taken 10 minutes apart at 5:25:39 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."
The photos have been widely mocked on social media, with the word “staged” trending on Twitter on Sunday morning.
One person said: “He was a reality TV star. As far as he’s concerned, he just had to shoot a couple of promos for the ‘look presidential’ bit he performs.”
Michael Moore says 'serial liar' Donald Trump made up Covid-19 diagnosis to win election
Another said of the blank sheet claim: “That’s the only kind of ‘work’ he knows how to do. And in his mind, as long as he makes it look like he’s working and his base believes it, that’s every bit as good, if not better, than actually doing something.
“We’re living through the reality TV presidency.”
Others blasted Trump for not wearing PPE and potentially spreading his infection around the hospital during the shoot.
Historian Alex von Tunzelmann said; “Not a huge surprise that these photos are staged – and I’m amused by those pointing out that if you zoom in he’s just signing a blank sheet of paper – but it’s genuinely appalling that he still won’t wear a mask.
“I hope his vanity hasn’t caused the photographer to be infected.”
Film editors have also claimed a video released by Trump that night could have edited out a cough.
A glitch in the footage – where he claims he'll return to work in the White House "soon" – where he hiccups could have been an exit cut, it was claimed.
The president, his doctor and chief of staff have given conflicting reports on his state of health since his coronavirus diagnosis.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Saturday said the president’s next 48 hours “will be critical in terms of his care”, adding: “We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
- Donald Trump
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