Stop sharing that meme of ‘Robert Mueller in Vietnam’

Convincing liberals that their side has a fake news problem is always a challenge, but it’s made easier if individual examples are cited directly. The latest bit of misinformation comes in the form of a viral meme depicting what it claims to be special counsel Robert Mueller during the Vietnam War alongside a photo of a young Donald Trump holding a bowling trophy.

The meme comes on the heels of ramped up attacks on Mueller in light of his investigation into the Trump campaign and other dealings having to do with Trump associates, with some news outlets reporting that Trump may be planning to fire Mueller before Christmas. There’s one problem: the image of Trump is real; the image purporting to show Mueller is of someone else.

As Business Insider points out, the photo of Trump is from the New York Military Academy’s 1964 yearbook and shows Trump with “his fellow intramural bowling team staffers,” who are not pictured in the meme. According to, “the photograph purportedly showing Mueller, however, doesn’t actually show the former FBI Director during the war.”

Mueller did serve in Vietnam, where he earned a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and other decorations. He enlisted in the Marines in 1968 and was a Commander in the 3rd Marine Division.

From Snopes:

This photograph has been online since at least 2012 but it wasn’t associated with Mueller until the former FBI Director was brought back into the spotlight as the special council of the Russia investigation.

The photo reportedly was originally posted to Flickr by photographer Ed Episcopo and was included in an album documenting the “25th Infantry Division, 9th Regiment, 4th BN, C Company” — a military unit Mueller was not affiliated with.

Snopes’ debunking of the image is a good reminder that much the content circulating on social media isn’t fact-checked. Misinformation on the web is a serious problem, so don’t become one of its purveyors.

[This article has been updated] Featured image via Flickr

Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.