Video of Biden, Air Force Academy football team is edited
Social media users are claiming a video shows Joe Biden abruptly leaving a White House visit with the US Air Force Academy Falcons before the collegiate football team could present him with an honorific jersey, helmet and ball. This is misleading; the clip has been edited to omit footage of the president acknowledging each gift and posing for photos.
"Joe Biden hosted the football team today! He was to be presented with a ball signed by the team, a helmet and a football jersey with his name on it," says an April 29, 2023 tweet from "Spriter," an account that has previously promoted misinformation. "But Biden grabbed only a sweater and began to wander, looking for a way out."
The tweet features a 16-second video of Biden's exit that received more than 2.4 million views.
Additional posts sharing the same clip in English, Spanish, Portuguese and several other languages have drawn tens of thousands more views. One tweet claims Biden "suddenly fled the scene, looking lost & bewildered," while others suggest the incident shows the president confused or exhibiting signs of dementia.
The posts, which come as Biden gears up for his 2024 re-election race, build on years of attacks on his age and fitness for office.
"Scary. Biden looks completely overwhelmed," said Steve Guest, a special advisor to US Senator Ted Cruz, in an April 30 tweet. "Are Dems just going to pretend this is normal?"
But the short clip omits key context -- the full footage shows Biden did not leave without accepting the gifts from the Air Force Academy's American football team.
The video stems from an April 28, 2023 White House visit in which Biden honored the Falcons with a trophy for winning an annual series against their rivals, the US Military and Naval academies.
Footage of the event from the White House (archived here) and C-SPAN shows the president holding the honorary football and helmet. He thanks the team, comments on the helmet and pretends to throw the ball before handing the items back to the squad's captains and carrying the jersey with him.
The official White House transcript says Biden was "presented with an Air Force Falcons jersey, football and helmet."
Troy Garnhart, the Air Force Academy's associate athletic director for communications, sent AFP a tweet with pictures from the football team (archived here), saying in a May 2 email that the post "clearly shows the gift exchange with our captains and the president." Biden shared the tweet.
Thanks for having us, @POTUSpic.twitter.com/wQHlmhn3PL— Air Force Football (@AF_Football) April 28, 2023
AFP also captured photos from the event.
AFP reached out to the White House for comment, but no response was forthcoming.
AFP has previously fact-checked other edited videos of Biden here, here and here.