PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar is getting criticism after tweeting a doctored picture of former President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in which he seemed not to realize the foreign leader remains in power.
The five-term Arizona Republican published on his personal Twitter account a photo purporting to show the two leaders grinning as they held hands.
Gosar wrote: “The world is a better place without these guys in power.”
Rouhani became president of Iran in 2013 and still holds that position after the U.S. slaying last week of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in a drone strike in Iraq.
The picture apparently came from a 2011 meeting Obama had with now-former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was replaced in the picture Gosar shared by Rouhani.
Gosar defended the tweet in a series of follow-up messages. He later sought to deflect criticism with more tweets disparaging those who ridiculed him, especially in the media.
He tweeted: “To the dim witted reporters ... no one said this wasn’t photoshopped. No one said the president of Iran was dead. No one said Obama met with Rouhani in person. The tweet says: ‘the world is a better place without either of them in power.’ ”
Gosar represents Arizona’s 4th Congressional District, which includes Florence, San Tan Valley, Gold Canyon and Apache Junction in Pinal County.