Was the Hillary Clinton hiking in the woods photo staged?
Twitter users, at least those of an anti-Hillary conspiracy mind, are wondering.
A heartwarming photo posted to Facebook of a mom’s reported chance encounter on a New York hiking trail with the former Democrat presidential nominee has raised lots of questions on social media about its legitimacy.
Hillary and husband Bill Clinton, the former POTUS, were out walking their dogs when “heartbroken” voter Margot Gerster ran into them after deciding to take a walk of her own in the woods to help get over her melancholy about the election outcome in which Republican Donald Trump won a big electoral college victory which ran counter to the dominant media narrative in the run-up to the voting.
Supposedly, Bill took the photo of Gerster and her child with Clinton.
According to New York magazine, Gerster wrote the following on a now-deleted Facebook page about her encounter on Thursday with Hillary Clinton in Chappaqua, New York, the upscale suburban enclave where the Clintons live outside New York City.
“I’ve been feeling so heartbroken since yesterday’s election and decided what better way to relax than take my girls hiking. So I decided to take them to one of favorite places in Chappaqua. We were the only ones there and it was so beautiful and relaxing. As we were leaving, I heard a bit of rustling coming towards me and as I stepped into the clearing there she was, Hillary Clinton and Bill with their dogs doing exactly the same thing as I was. I got to hug her and talk to her and tell her that one of my most proudest moments as a mother was taking Phoebe with me to vote for her. She hugged me and thanked me and we exchanged some sweet pleasantries and then I let them continue their walk. Now, I’m not one for signs but I think ill definitely take this one. So proud. #iamstillwithher #lovetrumpshate #keepfighting#lightfollowsdarkness”
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) November 12, 2016
Skeptical/sarcastic Twitter users (see representative sample below) alleged that the meet-up was anything but random. The hiker’s mother allegedly held a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton some years ago, and Newsmax claims that another photo was posted to Facebook on Election Day showing Gerster and Clinton posing for a photograph.
The Daily Mail has more on the photo that may or may not be orchestrated.
“The chance encounter Gerster had with Clinton gained national media attention as it was the first time Clinton had been photographed after losing the election. However, some critics allege that their meeting while hiking was staged and not random at all. Adding more fuel to those claims is the fact that it’s actually not the first time they’ve met. When Gerster was in high school, her mother held a fundraiser for Clinton at Crabtree’s Kittle House in Chappaqua. Gerster and her sister posed for a photo with Clinton inside the restaurant which happens to be one of the politician’s favorites, as the siblings smiled next to a beaming Clinton.”
Margot Gerster, the woman who happened to bump into Hillary hiking, has worked on Hillary's campaign. It was no coincidence. pic.twitter.com/4Kjf3rFMR9
— andieiam (@andieiamwhoiam) November 11, 2016
This is the same woman who needs help climbing stairs, now hiking in the woods. https://t.co/IFfapp6A5r
— Scott Cason (@mscottcason) November 12, 2016
This "chance encounter" like all Clinton photo ops are all planned and choreographed to make them look real,… https://t.co/RUxvAsTqMB
— Barry Ickes (@barryickes) November 12, 2016
Hillary's entire adult life has been staged: Was the "Hillary Hiking in the Woods" photo staged? https://t.co/CZHuz15SLu
— JAO (@HelenTuttle) November 12, 2016
Was the Hillary photo staged? She can't even make it up a few stairs, you think she is hiking in the woods? pic.twitter.com/8k6ozUjm2r
— Midnight Tide (@Whiskeyjack75) November 12, 2016
"Was the Hillary" hiking photo staged the same way she did with the moon landing? Hmmm? 🙂 pic.twitter.com/FDl558X0WZ
— Rev. Dr. J. Liam Fox (@JmsWmFox) November 12, 2016
"Was the Hillary picture staged? The answer is a resounding 'no'.
NBC's own Brian Williams was there.
Brian… tell us what happened-" pic.twitter.com/8i0KjIvWut
— Mydoghasagun (@mydoghasagun) November 12, 2016
For what it’s worth, that the Facebook content that created all this ruckus is deleted does raise eyebrows to some degree perhaps.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, the hiker explained that “considering how kind she was to me…it seemed like she was really handling it as well as anybody could possibly handle something like that.” Reporter Kristen Welker told Mitchell that the photo “was a sign to her supporters that [Clinton] is going to be okay and that it’s okay to move forward from here.”
“So, what’s the deal. Did Hillary Clinton and this woman already know each other?,” Twitchy wondered about the disputed photo.
[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]