False Claims Cited in Bogus Theory that Biden Isn’t President

By Angelo Fichera

Posted on March 2, 2021

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Quick Take

Facebook posts use faulty claims to baselessly suggest that President Joe Biden isn’t really the president. For example, some point out that he hasn’t delivered a State of the Union address. But new presidents typically don’t in their first year.


Full Story

A baseless conspiracy theory held by some QAnon adherents posits that President Joe Biden is not truly the president. And some further anticipate that former President Donald Trump will be sworn in for another term on March 4, which was the official inauguration day until 1933.

The theories are bunk. Biden is the president.

But some Facebook posts are using false claims to suggest there is evidence that Biden is not really the president.

Some posts suggest Biden is “a fake” or “faux” president because, they claim, he hasn’t been seen using “the REAL Airforce One.”

Another making the same claim, among others, notes that he “hasn’t given a State of the Union speech before Congress and the world.”

But the claims are false and misleading, respectively.

In terms of Air Force One, any plane carrying the president is technically considered “Air Force One,” according to the White House website. That said, the term is often used to refer to two Boeing 747-200B series planes customized for the president.

While Biden has opted to use smaller government aircraft since taking office, he in fact did use the larger 747 when he visited Texas on Feb. 26 — so the posts are wrong about that.

And it is standard practice that a new president does not deliver an official State of the Union address the year in which they’re sworn in, as the Congressional Research Service explains.

For example, Trump gave his first address in January 2018 — a year after taking office in January 2017. And before that, former President Barack Obama delivered his first address in 2010 — after taking office in January 2009. 

New presidents have in recent decades delivered a similar speech to a joint session of Congress following their inauguration, but that’s not a State of the Union address, the CRS notes. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Feb. 16 that no date for such an address had been scheduled yet, citing COVID-19 considerations.

One of the Facebook posts goes on to say that that the “Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines…not a single one of the MILITARY ACCOUNTS on Twitter are following @Biden or @POTUS accounts.”

While it appears to be true that the official Navy, Air Force and Marines Twitter accounts do not follow Biden’s official accounts — @JoeBiden or @POTUS — that doesn’t prove or disprove Biden’s legitimacy as president. We note, however, that the official Army account does follow Biden’s @POTUS account.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.

Sources

Air Force One.” White House. Accessed 1 Mar 2021.

History, Evolution, and Practices of the President’s State of the Union Address: Frequently Asked Questions.” Congressional Research Service. 29 Jan 2020.

Jackson, Brooks. “Obama’s State of the Union Address.” FactCheck.org. 28 Jan 2010.

Kiely, Eugene, et. al. “FactChecking Trump’s State of the Union.” FactCheck.org. 31 Jan 2018.

President Biden and First Lady arrive in Houston.” KHOU 11. 26 Feb 2021.

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, February 16, 2021.” White House. 16 Feb 2021.

Semansky, Patrick. “President Joe Biden waves as he and first lady Jill Biden board Air Force One at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021.” AP Images. 26 Feb 2021.

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