President Donald Trump posted an Instagram photo on Wednesday that have some online questioning whether or not he knows the definition of “first hand.”
The photo shows Trump looking at a heat map of Hurricane Harvey along with the caption, “After witnessing first hand the horror & devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, my heart goes out even more so to the great people of Texas!”
He posted the same message, sans photo, on Twitter.
After witnessing first hand the horror & devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey,my heart goes out even more so to the great people of Texas!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2017
Commenters quickly took that statement to task, pointing out that Trump was not at ground zero in Houston in the photo.
“If this is first hand we all witnessed it first hand. Literally. He is watching a monitor miles away,” one Instagram user said.
“Now do you believe in global warming- president first hand?” another quipped.
The heat continued over on Twitter, as some users posted pictures of things that they did not or could not have witnessed — Google images of black and white soldiers, a map of the Grand Canyon — and made quips about witnessing them “first hand.” Others altered Trump’s image, replacing the map with an electoral map of Texas or a web page selling hats.
In fairness, Trump did visit Texas on Monday, landing in Corpus Christie and then heading to Austin before leaving the state. He did not visit Houston or its surrounding areas, however. Journalists traveling with Trump also said that they did not witness “horror and devastation” first hand.
I traveled with the President yesterday. Personally, I would not claim to have seen Harvey's horror and devastation first hand. https://t.co/Zb7bsF5CW5
— Andrew Beatty (@AndrewBeatty) August 30, 2017
— Todd J. Gillman (@toddgillman) August 30, 2017
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to the backlash with this statement:
“He met with a number of state and local officials who are eating, sleeping, breathing the Harvey disaster,” she said. “He talked extensively with the governor, who certainly is right in the midst of every bit of this, as well as the mayors from several of the local towns that were hit hardest. And detailed briefing information throughout the day yesterday talking to a lot of the people on the ground. That certainly is a first hand account.”
While Sanders maintains Trump’s experience as “a first hand account,” what she described is a second-hand account.
See some of the reactions below.
This is the best photo they could find for "witnessing first hand" pic.twitter.com/WoiCA7Piz4
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) August 31, 2017
— Shannon Turner (@Shan82csi) August 31, 2017
here i am witnessing the majesty of the grand canyon first hand, it's amazing pic.twitter.com/ueS2pFnlf2
— libby watson ???? (@libbycwatson) August 31, 2017
not many people know this, but i'm a veteran pic.twitter.com/Xc66hoTe8s
— timothy ???? faust (@crulge) August 31, 2017
After witnessing first hand the tragedy of the Titanic, my heart goes out to the families of those lost at sea. pic.twitter.com/Xp8AVhd3Qi
— Andy (@trtx84) August 31, 2017
"amazing to witness first hand how i won the electoral vote"
"sir if we could go back to the hurri…"
"i won the popular vote too"
— darth:™ (@darth) August 31, 2017
"as you can see sir the damage ha…wait what"
"did you buy one yet"
"just buy one" pic.twitter.com/XSv14jWhff
— darth:™ (@darth) August 31, 2017