Photo of Biden boarding Marine One is real, not ‘staged’

The claim: A photo of President Joe Biden boarding Marine One is ‘staged’

Some social media users are falsely claiming President Joe Biden staged a photo of his recent departure for Europe. Their evidence: a photo from Biden’s official Twitter account.

The photo, posted the morning of the president’s departure for Brussels on March 23, shows Biden walking toward Marine One from the White House lawn. Dark, leafy trees frame the residence.

Posts on several social media sites claim the full trees, green grass and fair sky are evidence the image wasn’t taken in late March.

«There were no leaves on those trees yesterday,» reads a March 25 post from the Cajun Libertarian Facebook page. «Everything is staged and fake with these people.»

The text in this post comes from a tweet from a conservative writer who goes by Jon Nicosia. The tweet accumulated 9,800 retweets and over 38,000 likes in less than a day before it was deleted.

However, social media users have continued to circulate his post. And the claim is wrong.

The photo of Biden is authentic. The trees in the photo are southern magnolias, which have leaves year-round. Several news outlets took footage of Biden’s departure.

When asked for comment, the Cajun Libertarian directed USA TODAY to Nicosia, who told USA TODAY he removed the tweet after learning the photo wasn’t staged.

«I’m not a fan of this President, that being said I was wrong about the trees,» Nicosia wrote to USA TODAY in a Twitter message.

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Weather changes, trees explain confusion

Confusion over the photo stems from a purported discrepancy between the conditions in the photo of Biden boarding Marine One and the drab weather in Washington when the photo was posted on Twitter.

But videos and photos from numerous news outlets, including USA TODAY, all show Biden was on the White House lawn the morning of March 23 and boarded Marine One. The footage shows weather conditions similar to those in the photo posted by the White House.

Some shots even show a White House photographer taking the photo that was posted on the president’s Twitter account.

President Joe Biden salutes as he boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, March 23, 2022, in Washington.

President Joe Biden salutes as he boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, March 23, 2022, in Washington.

The trees in the photos are southern magnolias, as PolitiFact reported. Magnolias have glossy, dark green leaves year-round, according to the North Carolina State University Extension.

Southern magnolias can be seen in photos of the White House covered in snow. The magnolias were planted on the south side of the White House to replace the historic «Jackson Magnolia» that was cut down in 2017.

Some Twitter users claimed the weather in Washington on March 23 was rainy and cloudy, indicating the photo is inauthentic. However, the lighting in the photo is consistent with weather recorded around the time it was taken.

Biden departed the White House on Marine One around 8:40 a.m. on March 23, according to his public schedule. He boarded Air Force One for Brussels at Joint Base Andrews around 9 a.m.

Fact check: Biden received his COVID-19 booster shot

According to the Weather Underground, conditions were fair at that time. The weather service’s records indicate no precipitation was recorded in the Washington area until around 1 p.m., when it began drizzling and became cloudy.

Biden’s tweet was posted at 10:47 a.m., about two hours after the photo was taken. Most of the responses concerning the weather were posted after 12 p.m.

USA TODAY has previously debunked several claims alleging the Biden administration staged publicity events, such as the president’s COVID-19 booster shot and an interview on the White House lawn.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a photo of Biden boarding Marine One is «staged.» The photo is authentic and shows southern magnolia trees, which have glossy, dark-green leaves all year round. Numerous news outlets captured similar photos of Biden’s departure for Brussels.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Photo of Biden boarding Marine One is not ‘staged’

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