Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Biden 'Shaking Hands With A Ghost' -- He's Gesturing To Crowd

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Biden 'Shaking Hands With A Ghost' -- He's Gesturing To Crowd Edited Video

Does a video on social media show President Joe Biden "shaking hands" at a campaign stop with someone who is not there -- "a ghost," as the video puts it? No, that's not true: The video of Biden at an event in Florida does not show the large crowd he is gesturing at. But photos and videos from local and national news outlets covering the event show that Biden held up his hands to the crowd surrounding the stage to acknowledge their cheering.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Facebook on April 24, 2024. It opened:


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

Screen Shot 2024-04-26 at 1.11.45 PM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Apr 26 19:41:56 2024 UTC)

The post linked to an article on The Raging Patriot website (archived here) titled, "Biden Blundered Again: Shakes Hand With Thin Air." The story included a video from the Leading Report account on X (archived here), formerly known as Twitter, that shows Biden at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida, on April 23, 2024. In the footage, Biden turns to his right and puts both hands forward. He doesn't appear to be shaking hands with anyone.

Contrary to this embedded video clip, videos and photos by local and national media outlets from the Hillsborough Community College event show a wider area, with a crowd surrounding Biden. He gestures to these people during and after his speech.

Fox 13 Tampa Bay posted a video on their YouTube account (archived here) from the gathering. At the 12:59 point, Biden turns to his left and makes a motion with his two hands to the cheering crowd. At 13:13, Biden turns to his right toward the crowd and puts both hands out. The wide-angle view of the room shows that he is gesturing toward a cheering crowd.

The local Tampa Bay 10 TV news station also posted a video on their YouTube account (archived here) from the event. At 12:49 in the video, Biden makes the same gesture with both hands to his left to the cheering crowd. He then is seen heading to his right to motion toward the crowd as well. This screenshot shows him making the gesture to his left:

A photo published in The New York Times (archived here) on April 23, 2024, shows the large crowd behind Biden, not an empty space:

Screen Shot 2024-04-26 at 4.56.26 PM.png

(Source: The New York Times website screenshot taken on Fri Apr 26 20:30:16 2024 UTC)

Photos available on the website for photo agency Getty Images (here and here) show the crowd surrounding the stage while Biden is talking.

In April 2024, AFP Fact Check debunked the same claim about Biden shaking hands with a ghost.

Other Lead Stories fact checks of claims about Joe Biden can be found here.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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