Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Bikers Praying For President Trump At Walter Reed Hospital

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Bikers Praying For President Trump At Walter Reed Hospital Old Video

Does a video uploaded on TikTok by user James Riley show bikers praying for President Trump at Walter Reed hospital? No, that's not true: the video was first uploaded by Riley on September 12, 2020, well before the President was diagnosed with Covid-19 and taken to Walter Reed. The confusion might have arisen after Riley re-uploaded the video two days ago with the hashtags "#foryou #trump #trump2020 #fornite". The video appears to actually show an event that took place in South Africa on August 29, 2020.

Shortly after President Trump was admitted to hospital, copies of the video started appearing on social media claiming to show bikers praying for the President at Walter Reed hospital, for example in this Facebook post:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Sun Oct 4 08:01:02 2020 UTC)

The re-uploaded video (archived here) can be seen on TikTok here with the hashtags:

#foryou #trump #trump2020 #fornite

Here is an embedded copy of the video:

@jamesriley1688

##foryou ##trump ##trump2020 ##fornite

♬ original sound - James Riley

But if you look at the username embedded in the video you will see that it appears superimposed over an earlier watermark with the username, which indicates this video is not the original:

jamesriley.jpg

And indeed, by scrolling through the timeline of @jamesriley1688 on TikTok we were able to determine he originally uploaded the same video (archived here) several week ago on September 12, 2020:

@jamesriley1688

♬ original sound - James Riley

The comments on that video seem to indicate the event where the video was filmed was about remembering 9/11.

However it appears the video was actually filmed in Pretoria, South Africa. The artillery piece and the building that can be seen in the first few frames of the video match exactly with those found near Union Building in Pretoria, South Africa:

cannonbuilding.jpg

cannonbuilding2.jpg

It appears to be the South Africa Heavy Artillery Memorial. On August 29, 2020 thousands of bikers in South Africa took part in a protest against farm murders, it appears the video is footage from that event. That would explain the distinct lack of American flags and Trump campaign signs. Here is more footage from the event (archived here), up close to the monument:

None of this means there was no show of support from President Trump's supporters outside the hospital. A crowd did gather, as evidenced by this video published on Twitter by Dan Scavino, the President's Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications:

Both the official Trump campaign Twitter account @TrumpWarRoom (who retweeted it) and President Trump's son Eric (who quote tweeted it) were taken in by the falsely labeled video.

trumpwarroom.jpg

Updates:

  • 2020-10-05T08:41:09Z 2020-10-05T08:41:09Z
    Added info about the Trump campaign and Eric Trump being fooled by the falsely labeled video.
  • 2020-10-05T08:31:24Z 2020-10-05T08:31:24Z
    Added info about the South African origin of the video.
  • 2020-10-04T11:28:20Z 2020-10-04T11:28:20Z
    Added Dan Scavino video

This fact check is available at IFCN's 2020 US Elections #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.


  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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