Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show US Military Preparing For Social Unrest Ahead Of 2024 Presidential Election

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show US Military Preparing For Social Unrest Ahead Of 2024 Presidential Election From 2021

Does a video of U.S. troops stationed in front of the U.S. Capitol show that the American government is preparing for social unrest ahead of the 2024 U.S. presidential election? No, that's not true: The video is from late January 2021. The soldiers were there for Joe Biden's presidential inauguration and were securing the area near the Capitol following January 6, 2021. A representative from the Department of Defense told Lead Stories they "feel safe" in denying the claim there are troops in D.C. for the purpose of social unrest.

The claim appeared on TikTok on January 22, 2024 (archived here), by @tomkennedy2nd with on-screen text reading:

They know its coming

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

TikTok screenshot

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Feb 13 14:14:43 2024 UTC)

Although the post does not specify a time frame, the timing of it with the text saying "They know its coming" implies the scene is current during the 2024 presidential campaign.

The camera shows military service members and military trucks outside the U.S. Capitol. The camera then pans to the right, where more service members can be seen standing beside orange traffic cones, all situated behind concrete barricades.

Lead Stories contacted the Department of Defense. On February 13, 2024, DoD spokesman Lt. Col. Devin T. Robinson responded in an email:

I feel safe in saying that there are not troops in DC today for the purpose of civil unrest ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

An online news index search of "Washington DC AND US military US Capitol AND January 2024 AND February 2024" (archived here) did not result in any relevant pieces of evidence for this claim.

A reverse image search (archived here) of the first frame in the video on TinEye led Lead Stories to an X, formerly Twitter, post (archived here) from January 19, 2021. The caption, translated by Google Translate from Japanese, reads:


Is this security? part 2

It looks more like a military headquarters than the National Diet Building


Searching X for "Washington DC AND Capitol AND army until:2021-01-31 since:2021-01-01" (archived here) resulted in many posts documenting the U.S. military in fatigues stationed outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington during January 2021.

A Google News search of "January 19 2021 AND Washington DC AND US military" (archived here) led us to articles about U.S. service members playing a role in presidential inaugurations (Biden's took place on January 20, 2021) and how troops were stationed in D.C. for an extended period after the January 6, 2021, insurrection.

Other U.S. military fact checks from Lead Stories can be found here.


  • 2024-02-13T21:37:23Z 2024-02-13T21:37:23Z
    Adds a comment from the Department of Defense

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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