Fact check: Photo of congresswomen with Osama bin Laden in background is edited

Social media users have been sharing a photo of congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (slightly cropped out) sitting at a conference table in front of a painting of Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan, and a sign saying “Unfit to serve. Impeach Trump.” This is a digitally altered version of the original photo, posted by Ocasio-Cortez on Instagram: the picture of bin Laden has been superimposed onto another painting and the impeach Trump sign has been edited onto the wall.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

An example of the post, shared over 11,000 times, can be seen here .

The four Democratic U.S. representatives are informally known as “the squad” (here). Omar of Minnesota and Tlaib of Michigan were the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress; Omar was also the first Somali-American and Tlaib was the first Palestinian-American. Pressley of Massachusetts was the first Black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts and Ocasio-Cortez of New York was the youngest woman elected to the chamber at 29 (here  ,  here). All four were re-elected in 2020 (here).

The photo being shared in the social media posts was originally posted by Ocasio-Cortez on Nov. 12, 2018 with the caption “Squad. @ilhanmn @ayannapressley @rashidatlaib” , as seen here on Ocasio-Cortez’s Instagram page.  In the photo, the painting behind the four women is of an older gentleman and the white wall behind them does not have a poster on it.

The Trump impeachment poster was photoshopped onto the wall but all four women have expressed public support for impeaching former President Trump (here  ,  here  ,  here). 

This photo has been shared in the past and debunked by other fact-checking organizations including PolitiFact (here), Snopes (here) and Lead Stores (here). 

Reuters has previously debunked altered photos of bin Laden with other public figures (here). 


Altered. A painting of Osama bin Laden and a poster supporting Trump’s impeachment have been edited on to the original photo, posted by congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez in 2018.

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