Fact Check-Photo of GOP Leader Elise Stefanik is digitally altered

A photo depicting newly elected U.S. House GOP leader Elise Stefanik holding her middle finger up to a camera has been digitally altered. The November 2019 picture of the four-term representative for New York’s 21st District is still making the rounds in 2021.

Examples of the image in circulation can be seen here with the caption “Hey America- Meet the New GOP Leadership..” and here .

The posts feature a now-deleted tweet archived . The user has since apologized for posting an altered photo, in tweets also now deleted but captured by Snopes, here .

An article about the doctored image can be seen here on The article includes CNN footage seen here from a House Impeachment hearing that shows the original moment and that Stefanik never uses the gesture.

Congresswoman Stefanik responded to the controversy in a tweet dated November 16, 2019, which called out journalist George Conway for sharing the false image tweet (here).

In another tweet, one of her staff members noted that her not having a manicure is further proof that she did not make the derogatory hand motion (here).

On May 14, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives elected Donald Trump's candidate Elise Stefanik to their leadership, succeeding Liz Cheney, who they ousted earlier this week for criticizing the former president's continued false claims of election fraud (here).


Altered. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik did not pose using the middle finger gesture in November 2019. Photo and video evidence support a social media user’s claim of responsibility for digitally altering the image.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .