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Biden and Harris didn’t ignore military on Memorial Day weekend

June 1, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris sent tweets about staying cool and enjoying the long weekend for Memorial Day but did not acknowledge fallen soldiers or mourning families.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: Missing context. Posts criticizing Biden’s “stay cool” tweet and Harris’ “enjoy the long weekend” tweet fail to mention that both later tweeted about the meaning of Memorial Day. Biden also honored the nation’s sacrifices with a speech in Delaware on Sunday, and both the president and vice president attended a wreath-laying ceremony at Virginia’s Arlington National Cemetery on Monday.

THE FACTS: Over the three-day Memorial Day weekend, Biden posted five tweets on the topic of Memorial Day. Harris posted two. However, memes and videos circulating widely on social media on Tuesday spread a false narrative that the president and vice president completely rebuffed fallen service members in their weekend communications.

A Monday Facebook post showed a manipulated image of Biden and Harris laughing over a grave for fallen service members. In speech bubbles, the image showed Biden tweeting, “Stay cool this weekend, folks,” and Harris tweeting, “Enjoy the long weekend.”

“ZERO mention of the brave men and women who payed the ultimate sacrifice for us,” the caption read. “ZERO mention of the reason why we have this long weekend. ZERO mention of the families mourning for those who died in combat. America deserves better. #MemorialDay.”

The tweets in the speech bubbles in the image are genuine. On Saturday, May 29, Biden tweeted a picture of himself and a girl at an ice cream stand, writing, “Stay cool this weekend, folks.” The same day, Harris tweeted a picture of herself smiling with the caption, “Enjoy the long weekend.”

The president and vice president received a barrage of criticism that day, with conservative Twitter users lambasting them for posting about the long weekend without acknowledging the somber reason for it.

However, by Monday, when the manipulated image was shared on Facebook, both Biden and Harris had shared multiple posts and attended Memorial Day events to honor those who have died in military service.

“Throughout our history our service men and women have risked everything to defend our freedoms and our country,” Harris tweeted on Sunday. “As we prepare to honor them on Memorial Day, we remember their service and their sacrifice.”

On Monday, she sent a new tweet, writing, “We honor those members of our military who sacrificed their lives in order to defend our freedoms. We owe these heroes—and their loved ones—everything. Not just on Memorial Day. Every day.”

Biden, meanwhile, posted live videos of his remarks at the New Castle, Delaware, Memorial Day ceremony on Sunday and the Arlington National Cemetery ceremony on Monday.

He shared three additional Memorial Day tweets on Monday, including one saying that Americans have a “sacred obligation” to “always honor the memory of those we’ve lost — and to support their families.”

Biden and Harris both attended a wreath-laying ceremony on Monday at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is dedicated to deceased service members whose remains have not been identified.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536