By PETER DEALER StaffThe White House has come under fire for defending President Donald Trump’s decision to tweet out an unflattering photo of the president and his daughter, Ivanka, on Sunday afternoon, despite the photo being doctored by an anonymous person.
The photo, which showed Trump and his family on a boat with a woman holding her head, was widely shared on social media, prompting the White House to defend Trump’s actions.
“He’s trying to be a leader,” the White’s spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
“This is not an issue that he is going to shy away from.
He’s trying his best to lead and to lead in a way that’s consistent with what he believes is right and what’s best for the country.”
Sanders also said Trump “continues to make progress” on issues such as the economy and the border wall.
Trump’s tweets, however, were condemned by journalists and members of Congress, including Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.
“These tweets, like so many others, are clearly meant to provoke a response from a leader who is so obsessed with Twitter and the media that he refuses to acknowledge the gravity of his mistakes,” she said in a statement.
“It is shameful that President Trump chooses to resort to his own Twitter account and his own personal brand of misinformation in the name of national security.
He needs to get real about what his tweets actually mean, and to put it in context.”
In a statement issued Sunday afternoon after the photo was shared widely, the White Houses press secretary, Sarah Sanders, called the photo a “joke.”
“President Trump’s tweet of the photo of him and Ivanka was a joke,” she wrote.
“The President did not tweet it, and he has never retweeted it.
He did not create the photo, nor did it come from a fake account.
We’ve taken swift action to remove it.”
A spokesman for the Office of Public Liaison for the Department of Homeland Security said the photo is real.
“This photo is a fake.
The photo is of an actual photo of an executive branch official, and the image has been removed,” spokesperson David Lapan said in an email to CNN.
“An employee from the Office was in the White house when the photo surfaced, and they were able to confirm the authenticity of the picture.”
Sanders said that the photo “did not originate with President Trump,” and that Trump’s daughter has apologized for using it in the past.
“We are deeply disappointed that President Donald J. Trump used this photo in an effort to draw attention to himself,” she added.
The White Houses Office of Communications, which oversees public relations, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Trump, whose Twitter account has more than 100,000 followers, has been widely criticized for his tweets.
On Friday, he retweeted an image of a white nationalist holding a Confederate flag that he called a “political cartoon.”
“That was an intentional misidentification of a Confederate soldier, and it was an error on our part,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Clinton said on “This Sunday.”
“I think the President, in general, has a lot of work to do when it comes to his image and what he says, but I do think that, in this instance, it was intentional, and we take that seriously,” she continued.
“That’s the message that we want to send to the world, that when the President does something that is wrong, that he’s going to take a lot from us, that’s what he’s trying.”
Sanders added that the White houses Office of Community Engagement is investigating the tweet.
“We have looked into this, and unfortunately we have to let it be known that we’re aware of it,” she told “This Weekend.”
Trump has said that he doesn’t see himself as a racist and that he only takes offense when people call him a bigot, not when he uses his platform to defend himself.