Photo of George Soros at DeSantis event is doctored
An image circulating online purports to show George Soros seated at a table behind Ron DeSantis as the Republican presidential candidate posed for a photo at a May 2023 event. This is false; the picture has been altered to superimpose the billionaire philanthropist's head onto another person's body.
"No disrespect to DeSantis supporters but don't u think it's odd that George Soros is right there supporting the meatball?" says a May 25, 2023 tweet sharing the image, which uses a nickname former president Donald Trump has floated for the Florida governor.
The supposed picture of Soros -- a Hungarian-born American business mogul who has long been the target of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories -- spread across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram after DeSantis's May 24 announcement that he would be challenging Trump for the Republican nomination in 2024.
But the photo has been manipulated to add Soros to the frame.
"This is quite obviously fake; he was not invited or in attendance," Bryan Griffin, DeSantis's press secretary, told AFP in an email.
Soros spokesperson Michael Vachon also confirmed the Democratic donor was not at the event, saying: "The picture is false."
A spokesperson for Soros's Open Society Foundations separately said the photo is "doctored" and that "the two were not in the same room."
Soros edited into photo
John Cardillo, a conservative commentator, posted the original photo May 25 on Twitter and Instagram (archived here and here).
The picture shows a different person at the table in the background as Cardillo and DeSantis smile for the camera. AFP could not determine the person's identity.
Cardillo's Instagram post lists the location as the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami, Florida, where supporters of the governor's presidential ambitions gathered for a fundraising event.
Just had a great chat with @RonDeSantis where he told me, laughing, “I haven’t spoken to Paul Ryan since I was elected governor, and I’ve met Karl Rove once.”
Ryan/Rove collaboration is a completely false narrative fabricated by Team Trump out of desperation. pic.twitter.com/J0MgdC0tJ9
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) May 26, 2023
Some Twitter users pointed out that Alex Bruesewitz, a pro-Trump social media personality, appears to have first posted and subsequently deleted the altered version of the image.
Cardillo told AFP the editing was a "pathetic attempt" by Trump backers "to mislead people with lies about Ron DeSantis."
"The photo is absolutely doctored," Cardillo said in an email. "George Soros was most definitely not at the event."
Cardillo said he could not identify the person seated in the background, as the event featured no assigned seating and attendees moved from table to table.
AFP has debunked other misinformation about DeSantis here and Soros here.