British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s congratulatory message to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris went viral on Tuesday after eagle-eyed Twitter users spotted that Johnson’s message appeared to be a hasty image edit that still contained traces of President Donald Trump’s name.
Johnson first tweeted congratulations to Biden and Harris on Saturday, after major media networks called the presidential race in favour of the Democratic candidates. While other world leaders opted to voice their applause via Twitter’s usual 280-character limit, Johnson tweeted out an image that had an unusual blunder hidden inside it.
HuffPost can confirm what Twitter users highlighted: If the image that Johnson tweeted out is downloaded, opened in a photo editing program such as Photoshop or Lightroom, and tweaked with adjusted contrast and exposure levels, the words “Trump,” “second term” and “the future” in a smaller font are faintly visible.
This indicates that the congratulatory message to Biden was layered atop what appears to be a longer congratulatory message to Trump that had not been fully deleted.
A number of Twitter users tested the theory out for themselves, expressing bafflement that Downing Street had committed such a bizarre photo editing screw-up.
A Downing Street spokesperson addressed the odd graphical gaffe to the BBC, blaming it on a “technical” issue.
“As you’d expect, two statements were prepared in advance for the outcome of this closely contested election,” the spokesperson said. “A technical error meant that parts of the alternative message were embedded in the background of the graphic.”
Despite the conspiratorial-like nature of the error, Boris Johnson ― a Trump ally who was described by the president himself as “Britain Trump” ― called Biden on Tuesday, stating that he looks forward to working with the president-elect’s administration come January.
Biden has notably been far less positive toward Brexit than either Johnson or Trump, and has channelled his heritage when addressing the Good Friday Agreement, stressing that the agreement that ended violence between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland must not become a “casualty of Brexit.”
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