HARRISBURG, Pa. — Update, 6:30 p.m.: Former President Donald Trump has pulled the Pennsylvania State Police photo from his Truth account.
The photo has been replaced with an overhead photo of the crowd at Trump's visit to Wilkes-Barre last week.
Previously: A photo circulating social media showing former president Donald Trump alongside 30 uniformed Pennsylvania State Troopers was released without permission, according to the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP).
The photo, which is currently a profile banner on Trump's social media page, Truth, quickly gained criticism across social media accounts.
One user commented, "Why are these public employees in a staged photo for political purposes?"
Another user wrote, "I wonder what part of the Pennsylvania State Trooper manual and procedures say it's okay to have your picture taken with a twice-impeached, insurrection leading ex-President, on duty, in uniform. Fire all these troopers... NOW. All Pennsylvanians should be angry at this photo."
Pennsylvania State Trooper Association President David Kennedy disagreed with the opposition, however.
He wrote to FOX43 News, "Troopers providing dignitary protection have taken photographs with presidents dating back to Teddy Roosevelt. Anyone suggesting otherwise is either misinformed or politically motivated."
In response to the social media backlash, PSP Communications Director Myles Sanders provided the following statement on the matter:
PSP members at this particular event were afforded an opportunity to gather for a photograph with the former President. The photograph in question was not officially sanctioned or disseminated by the Pennsylvania State Police. The Pennsylvania State Police does not endorse any political candidate or campaign.
Again, and as is customary with many dignitaries who attend an event where PSP is assigned to augment security, troopers who were at the event on Saturday but not actively assigned to a security post during this brief period of time were afforded an opportunity to gather for a photograph with the former president with the understanding that it would only be distributed to the troops in the photo as memorabilia.
Troopers in the photo all voluntarily participated, again with the understanding that it was a photo op with the former president to be sent to them as memorabilia.
It was not sanctioned or disseminated by the Pennsylvania State Police, nor was PSP asked permission to use the photo opportunity for anything other than a private photo with the former president.