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Troops did not turn their backs on Biden

January 21, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Troops in Washington turned their backs on President Joe Biden’s motorcade as it passed on its way to his inauguration at the U.S. Capitol.  

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The troops did not turn their backs on the newly elected president as a sign of protest. National Guard members were positioned that way in advance of the motorcade passing in accordance with safety protocol.  

THE FACTS: A video of President Joe Biden’s motorcade making its way through Washington to the U.S. Capitol is being misrepresented online. 


In widely shared posts, social media users are suggesting that a video taken by an ABC reporter shows National Guard members turning their backs on Biden’s motorcade as it passes in a show of disrespect. 

“Many in the military turned their backs to Biden’s motorcade,” one tweet with more than 3,000 likes said sharing the footage. 

Another video making the false claim had more than 100,000 views on YouTube. Taking it a step further, some social media users captured a still from the video and made it into posts comparing photos of guard members enthusiastically greeting former President Donald Trump at an unspecified event. 

The video with the false claim was amplified by accounts who have supported President Donald Trump and promoted misinformation in the past. 

ABC reporter Ines de La Cuetara uploaded the video to Twitter on Wednesday at around 10:30 a.m. 

“The view from Biden’s motorcade as it made its way up to the Capitol,” she said in her caption. 

In the video, some National Guard members can be seen facing the cars passing on the street while others have their backs turned near Robert A. Taft Memorial on Constitution Avenue. 

More than 26,000 members of the National Guard from around the country were brought in to beef up security for the inauguration in the wake of the violent riots at the Capitol. Their jobs included protecting the perimeter from any threats that might come in. 


The AP confirmed with the National Guard Bureau who said that the guard members had their backs turned for safety protocol. Like the National Guard members, Secret Service officials often turn their backs to monitor all possible threats. During Trump’s inauguration, authorities could be seen both with their backs facing and turned away from his motorcade. 

“These National Guardsmen were on duty with a mission to protect the president against potential threats. Some are facing out to ensure the safety of all,” said Darla Torres, a spokeswoman for the National Guard Bureau.

An ABC spokesman confirmed that Cuetara captured the video of the troops while driving by as part of Biden’s press pool. 


Associated Press reporter Lolita Baldor contributed to this report from Washington.



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: