Bottled water Trump gave to Ohioans wasn’t yellow
CLAIM: A photo shows that the bottled water that former President Donald Trump gifted to East Palestine, Ohio, residents was dark yellow in color.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. This is a years-old photo that has been altered to discolor the water. AP photos of the bottles Trump handed out in Ohio show that the water appeared clear.
THE FACTS: In the days since Trump handed out bottled water to those affected by a recent train derailment and chemical burn in Ohio, an image purporting to show the water he delivered began circulating online.
The deceptively edited image shows a cardboard box filled with 24 plastic water bottles branded as “Trump Ice Natural Spring Water,” each one appearing to contain a yellow liquid.
“Trump is grifting the people of E. Palestine pushing his own ‘colorful’ water,” reads one tweet with the image. “These people haven’t been through enough apparently. He’s telling them to only drink Trump water!”
However, a reverse image search shows the image has circulated online since 2015 and in the original version, the water is not discolored.
Various news stories in 2015 explained that the water in the image was a prank gift from Trump’s presidential campaign to that of his rival, Republican Marco Rubio. CNN reported at the time that the joke package, sent with towels and bumper stickers, was a reference to previous back-and-forth jabs between Trump and Rubio after Trump accused Rubio of drinking water and sweating a lot.
The altered version of the image circulating online this week is overlaid with the name of a Twitter user who has posted numerous tweets making fun of Trump with other altered images and videos.
During his visit to East Palestine, Trump criticized the federal government’s response to the toxic train derailment, calling it a “betrayal.”
He donated cleaning supplies and pallets of what he said was Trump-branded bottled water, then stopped by a local McDonald’s, where he passed out hats, ordered meals for first responders and picked up food for the plane ride home. He also visited Little Beaver Creek to inspect the damage and greeted supporters assembled nearby to cheer him on.
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.