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Viral Post Comparing US Presidential Campaign Rallies Uses An Old Photograph For Trump’s Tulsa Event

Claim 

A 20 June Facebook post compares Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s recent campaign events. Biden’s campaign rally image shows an almost empty room with people observing social distancing guidelines, while Trump’s alleged rally image shows a massive crowd.  

Multiple posts comparing these two images are circulating on different social media platforms. See examples of them here, here and here

Factcheck 

As Presidential candidates for this year’s United States elections hold their rallies amidst the ongoing pandemic, related fake news is also on the rise. 

The claim in context is one such example, which shows a misleading image of current President Donald Trump’s recent rally in the United States. We debunk these images below.

Joe Biden, former Vice President of the United States and this year’s Democratic Presidential candidate held his recent campaign event at a community center in Darby, Pennsylvania. 

The photograph of Biden’s campaign rally in the claim is authentic. You can watch his entire campaign speech in the video below. At the very beginning and end of the video clip you can observe the participants seated apart on chairs as shown in the claim. 

https://www.c-span.org/video/?473161-1/joe-biden-delivers-remarks-reopening-economy

Reuters coverage of Biden’s rally in Pennsylvania includes a similar image showing social distancing measures in place in the audience.

Infact Donald Trump posted the exact picture in the claim on his Twitter Profile on 20 June with the caption, “Joe Biden’s rally. ZERO enthusiasm!”

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1274080589310824450?s=20

The image which claims to show Trump’s rally on 20 June is not from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where his recent campaign event was held. The image is in fact from a Rolling Thunder Washington D.C. event which shows a crowd in the parking lot of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. While we couldn’t trace the original photograph in the claim, photographs of the same venue captured from different angles show similarities such as the White open jeep, umbrella tents and the tall green trees behind the crowd. 

https://www.facebook.com/RollingThunderDC/photos/a.209985642365434/2581606998536608/

In reality, Trump’s re-election campaign rally was held in the Bank of Oklahoma Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a number of blue rows empty. Known for falsely boasting of never having an empty seat at one of his events, President Trump and his staff members apparently stood gazing at the half-empty arena from backstage. Read more about this event in these news reports

Facebook has added disclaimers of false news on a number of similar posts with these images. 

Conclusion

The 20 June, 2020 Facebook post which compares Joe Biden’s and Donald Trump’s US Presidential campaign rallies is partly false. While Biden’s campaign event did show low participant attendance and social distancing measures, the image used to claim Trump’s recent rally is actually an old photo from a Rolling Thunder event in Arlington, Virginia. 

Tools Used

  • Twitter advanced search 
  • Facebook 
  • Google advanced search

Result: Partly False 

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