Trump campaign seizes on misleading video to criticize Biden’s mental state: Fact check

Written by on June 15, 2024

Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

(WASHIGNTON) — As Donald Trump turns 78 on Friday, his campaign is trying to paint 2024 rival President Joe Biden as mentally incompetent by distorting a moment from Biden’s trip overseas this week to the G7 summit that has gone viral on social media.

“From Italy to the United Kingdom to New York, millions of people around the world woke up to headlines about Crooked Joe Biden’s cognitive decline on full display at the G7 Summit,” Trump campaign spokesperson Karoline Leavitt wrote in a statement.

Leavitt was referring to a skydiving demonstration Biden attended on Thursday alongside other world leaders gathered in Italy. Footage from the event was selectively edited in a misleading way by the New York Post.

The Post made it seem as if Biden was speaking to no one before the Italian prime minister ushered him back to the group. In a caption, the New York Post wrote that Biden appeared to “wander off” and someone needed to “pull him back to focus.”

“Biden was seen staring off into the distance and wandering around like a brain-dead zombie, and even had to be ushered by Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni,” Leavitt claimed.

The edited video posted by the tabloid to X had 4.7 million views as of Friday afternoon.

It was flagged by the social media platform, which provided additional context that the video had been cropped.

The unedited footage shows a different picture: a skydiver had just landed in the spot Biden walked toward moments before and the president went to approach him to give him a thumbs up. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni then brought Biden back to the group so one of the skydivers could brief them.

Another angle of the moment shows the skydiver Biden was addressing when he walked away.

White House senior deputy press secretary Andrew Bates, in a post to X, said the “Murdoch outlets are so desperate to distract from” Biden’s record that “they just lie.”

“Here, they use an artificially narrow frame to hide from viewers that he just saw a skydiving demonstration,” Bates wrote. “He’s saying congratulations to one of the divers and giving a thumbs-up.”

Bates also posted his own video that showed Biden walking toward the skydiver to praise him.

Polls show age is a major issue among voters this election cycle when it came to both candidates, though more appear to have concerns about Biden, who turned 81 last year.

A recent Marquette University poll found 79% of respondents said the phrase “too old” describes Biden “very or somewhat well,” compared to 54% who said the same about Trump.

ABC News’ Soorin Kim, Lalee Ibssa and Kelsey Walsh contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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