Politics

The Story Behind That Viral Photo Of Donald Trump’s Crowd In Alabama

When Sydnie Shuford and her husband took their son, Jackson, to see Donald Trump’s speech at a football stadium in Mobile, Ala. on Friday, she couldn’t imagine that a photo of her family with the Republican presidential candidate would go viral.

But by Monday, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza devoted more than 500 words to “breaking down this amazing Donald Trump picture from his Alabama rally.” Thousands liked and shared it on BuzzFeed’s Facebook page. And Mediaite wrote about how it had even inspired “hilarious photoshop gold.”

In the photo, a visibly thrilled Shuford is holding her 8-month old son. Her face shows the excitement of the moment. Trump has his hands on the baby’s face. Shuford’s husband is seen snapping his own photo. Someone behind them is holding a sign that says “Thank You Lord Jesus For President Trump.”

In an email to The Daily Caller, Shuford explains what was really going on. “As Mr. Trump came by, he said, ‘What a cutie!’ and gave my son a kiss,” she recalled. “I guess my expression in the picture shows my surprise that this event actually took place. The camera caught a combination of me laughing hysterically while yelling to my husband, ‘Did you get the pic?'”

Sydnie Shuford and her son Jackson (Laura Cantrell Photography).

Sydnie Shuford and her son Jackson (courtesy of Laura Cantrell Photography).

But while she may look like an ardent Trump supporter in the photo, Shuford says her family went more out of curiosity and she is open to hearing from other candidates.

“I went to see Donald Trump because I have watched his television show and I have enjoyed him for years,” she said. “My attendance didn’t have much to do with politics at this point in time. I was simply curious.”

“My husband and I enjoyed the picture, and laughed at nearly all of the photo shops and captions,” she added. “We were, however, disturbed to see the negative comments people were making in response to the newspaper stories and the picture.”

Here is Shuford’s full re-telling of the story behind the photo:

This is the story of how a young woman from Mobile Alabama, came to be in a picture that went viral.

Friday, Aug. 21 was like any other Friday. I was finishing up the work week and looking forward to the weekend. My husband and our two older daughters wanted to go the rally to see Mr. Trump’s speech. No one can argue the fact that Trump has a great brand and regardless of political affiliation, he is very entertaining.

I kept thinking of pictures one always sees of politicians kissing babies. Being a new mother, I thought how funny it would be if Donald Trump saw my son, and we could snap a picture of him giving our baby a kiss.

During the speech, I meandered my way through the crowds of people, so I could get a place on the front row. As Mr. Trump came by, he said, “What a cutie!” and gave my son a kiss. I guess my expression in the picture shows my surprise that this event actually took place. The camera caught a combination of me laughing hysterically while yelling to my husband, “Did you get the pic?” (The man on my left in the picture who is leaning back and taking a photo is my husband).

My husband and I enjoyed the picture, and laughed at nearly all of the photo shops and captions. We were however disturbed to see the negative comments people were making in response to the newspaper stories and the picture. These attacks were made against me, the collective group of people around me, the city of Mobile and the state of Alabama. “Alabamians are racist, stupid, have the lowest IQs in the country, the highest school dropout rate, etc.” I never realized until this experience how difficult it would be to hear such insults about my beloved city and state.

Here is the truth: I am a wife and mother of three, and I am employed full-time as a guidance counselor. I love my students regardless of ethnicity or affluence. I went to see Donald Trump because I have watched his television show and I have enjoyed him for years. My attendance didn’t have much to do with politics at this point in time. I was simply curious.

Mobile does not receive much attention from politicians, much less celebrities and as a member of this community I believe it is not only “southern hospitality” but good manners to show up and listen to what a candidate has to say. Furthermore, as a citizen of this great country, I feel an obligation to make informed a decision before I vote. Rest assured, I will attend speeches given by members of the other party as well.

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