Fact check: Biden checked watch after ceremony at Dover Air Force Base

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  2 weeks ago  •  46 comments

By:   Daniel Funke (USA TODAY)

Fact check: Biden checked watch after ceremony at Dover Air Force Base
Footage from the ceremony shows Biden bowing and putting his hand over his heart as 11 caskets are carried into gray vans.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Daniel FunkeUSA TODAY

The claim: Donald Trump saluted the caskets of fallen U.S. service members, while Joe Biden checked his watch


Our rating: Partly false


Based on our research, we rate PARTLY FALSE the claim that Trump saluted the caskets of fallen U.S. service members, while Biden checked his watch. The pictures are real, but they don't accurately summarize the two events. The way Biden honored the 11 caskets presented at Dover Air Force Base, with a hand over his heart, was similar to how Trump paid respects to fallen service members during his presidency. Biden checked his watch, but he did so after the ceremony had ended.

On Aug. 29, President Joe Biden paid his respects to U.S. service members who were killed in a terrorist attack at the Kabul airport. The president and first lady Jill Biden bowed and placed their hands over their hearts as 11 caskets were presented at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

But on social media, some doubted Biden's sincerity.

One popular post features two photos: one of Biden and one of now-former President Donald Trump. The picture shows Biden appearing to check his watch, Trump salutes as men in fatigues carry a casket draped in the American flag.

"A picture is worth a thousand words," reads text over the post, published Aug. 30 on Facebook.

Similar posts have racked up hundreds of thousands of interactions on Facebook and Instagram, according to CrowdTangle, a social media insights tool. An Aug. 29 Facebook Live video from Benny Johnson, a conservative commentator, accumulated more than 446,000 views within two days.

"BIDEN LOOKS AT HIS WATCH (!!!) AS CASKETS OF 13 SERVICE MEMBERS KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN ARE DELIVERED TO THEIR FAMILIES," reads the caption of the video, which shows a still of Biden purportedly checking his watch during the dignified transfer, a process that honors slain service members returning to the U.S.

Biden has taken heat from all sides for the chaotic evacuation of U.S. troops, citizens and allies from Afghanistan. But the claim that he checked his watch instead of honoring the fallen service members is wrong.

USA TODAY reached out to social media users who shared the claim for comment.

Biden honored fallen troops


The full video of the dignified transfer ceremony shows Biden honored each of the fallen U.S. service members. He appeared to check his watch after the ceremony ended.

On Aug. 26, 11 Marines, one Navy hospital corpsman and an Army soldier were killed in bombings and gunfire at Hamid Karzai International Airport. ISIS-K, an Islamic State affiliate group in Afghanistan and Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack, which also killed at least 169 Afghans.

"These American service members who gave their lives ... they were heroes," Biden said during remarks after the terrorist attack. "Heroes who have been engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others."

On Sunday, Biden met with service members' families and attended his first dignified transfer as president. Footage from the 45-minute ceremony shows Biden bowing his head and placing his hand over his heart as 11 caskets are carried off a plane and into gray vans. Two other transfers were conducted in private.

The way Biden paid his respects to the fallen service members is similar to what Trump did during his presidency.

The image of Trump in the Facebook posts appears to stem from a New York Times article published Nov. 21, 2019, when Trump attended a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force base to honor two Army soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. During the brief ceremony, Trump saluted as two caskets were carried into a waiting van.

For Biden, he did appear to check his watch during his visit to Dover Air Force Base. But he did so after the dignified transfer ceremony was over.

Footage leading up to the moment shows Biden with his hand over his heart for about 30 seconds as vans carry the service members' remains off the tarmac. After the vans had left, Biden closes his eyes briefly before dropping his arms and glancing down at his watch.

At that point, everyone else in the video also stands at ease, indicating that the ceremony was over. About 35 seconds later, Biden and the first lady walk off the tarmac toward a black SUV.

USA TODAY reached out to the White House for comment.

Our rating: Partly false


Based on our research, we rate PARTLY FALSEthe claim that Trump saluted the caskets of fallen U.S. service members, while Biden checked his watch. The pictures are real, but they don't accurately summarize the two events. The way Biden honored the 11 caskets presented at Dover Air Force Base, with a hand over his heart, was similar to how Trump paid respects to fallen service members during his presidency. Biden checked his watch, but he did so after the ceremony had ended.

Our fact-check sources:

  • C-SPAN, Aug. 29, President Biden Pays Respect to U.S. Service Members Killed in Afghanistan
  • USA TODAY, Aug. 27, They made the 'ultimate sacrifice': The 13 US service members killed in Afghanistan airport bombing
  • USA TODAY, Aug. 29, Fact check: Bidens attended dignified transfer of 13 fallen service members
  • CrowdTangle, accessed Aug. 31
  • USA TODAY, Aug. 22, For Biden, fallout from the Afghanistan withdrawal abroad complicates agenda at home
  • Factba.se, accessed Aug. 31, Remarks: Joe Biden Addresses the Terrorist Bombings in Kabul - August 26, 2021
  • USA TODAY, Aug. 29, Biden meets with families of service members killed in Kabul suicide bombing
  • USA TODAY, Aug. 26, What is ISIS-K? Islamic State terror group carried out Kabul attack that killed 13 U.S. troops
  • The New York Times, Nov. 21, 2019, Trump Pays Respects to 2 Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan
  • USA TODAY, Nov. 21, 2019, Trump visits Dover to honor remains of two soldiers killed in Afghanistan
  • USA TODAY, Aug. 26, Dire warnings, then explosions and US deaths: How a terror strike unfolded at Kabul airport
  • AP Archive on YouTube, Nov. 26, 2019, Trump at Dover AFB to receive remains of fallen soldiers
  • Getty Images, Nov. 21, 2019, Dignified Transfer Held For 2 Soldiers Killed In Helicopter Crash In Afghanistan

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

So the grieving father that told Sean Hannity that Biden checked his watch 13 times was not telling the truth. That is sad. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @1    2 weeks ago

With no video focused on Biden the entire time we won't know. We know he was caught once. I'll believe the family members of the fallen before I believe Daniel Funke who is assigned to "misinformation for "Big Brother."  You need a video focused on Biden for the entire ceremony otherwise all we have is he said/she said!

So the grieving father

No, It's wasn't just one grieving father!:




 
 
 
Hallux
Freshman Principal
1.1.1  Hallux  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1    2 weeks ago

Thanks for the video with the 'assigned' musical dirge that teared me to compliant belief. Gotta get that muzak guy to play with the helicopter video.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1    2 weeks ago

I dont believe Biden checked his watch 13 times, which is what the father told Hannity. There is one photo of him appearing to look toward his watch as he lowers his arm and brings the other up. 

You are right about one thing though. Without a dedicated camera on Biden there is no video proof one way or the other. 

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Guide
1.2  1stwarrior  replied to  JohnRussell @1    2 weeks ago

512

512

Yup - looks like a watch-check to me.

 
 
 
Hallux
Freshman Principal
1.2.1  Hallux  replied to  1stwarrior @1.2    2 weeks ago

@!@

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.2.2  Tessylo  replied to  1stwarrior @1.2    2 weeks ago

horse-dead.gif

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.2.3  Texan1211  replied to  1stwarrior @1.2    2 weeks ago

Clearly.

Biden got caught.

What I don't get is why.

His schedule is handled by his people.

No need for him to even look, as they would have whisked him away when it was time.

 
 
 
Sunshine
PhD Guide
1.2.4  Sunshine  replied to  Texan1211 @1.2.3    2 weeks ago
No need for him to even look,

He is admiring his shiny Rolex.  

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.2.5  Tessylo  replied to  1stwarrior @1.2    2 weeks ago

Whatshisname, #45,  sees these dead brave soldiers as losers.  

 
 
 
Kathleen
Professor Principal
1.3  Kathleen  replied to  JohnRussell @1    2 weeks ago

Does it really matter how many times he checked it?

Once is enough!!

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
2  Buzz of the Orient    2 weeks ago

These accusations are getting so fucking childish - there are members here who promote and support this kind of garbage should spend their time watching the Muppet Show instead of wasting OUR time on this site. 

 
 
 
dennis smith
Masters Silent
2.1  dennis smith  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2    2 weeks ago

Proof is not just an accusation, it is a fact.

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
2.1.1  Split Personality  replied to  dennis smith @2.1    2 weeks ago

It was after the last casket was put in the Transit and the 3 people closing the 4 Transit doors were making a long

affair out of it.

It never took that long at Hamilton AFB and no Presidents ever showed up as our men & women came back to

California from Vietnam in their metal DOD transport boxes, one planeload after another.

The last thing those people did was die for their country.

That's why the camera was on the Transits, not the Bidens.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
PhD Expert
2.2  Greg Jones  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2    2 weeks ago

Nobody is wasting your time. [Deleted]

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
2.2.1  Tessylo  replied to  Greg Jones @2.2    2 weeks ago

[Deleted]

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
3  Buzz of the Orient    2 weeks ago

Okay, now that the Biden-bashers have determined that it is wrong for Biden to check his watch, especially since in his position he has to be careful how he spends his time, the next thing they could do is check to see which foot he puts forward first when he starts walking.  That's REALLY important. 

 
 
 
Ronin2
Masters Quiet
3.1  Ronin2  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3    2 weeks ago

Biden puts his foot in his mouth constantly, never forward.

But thank you for playing the apologize for Biden game the Democrats and their lemmings thank you for it.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
3.1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ronin2 @3.1    2 weeks ago

You're welcome.  It's my pleasure to be sarcastic about bullshit. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.2  Texan1211  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3    2 weeks ago

I think people pretending that if any Republican President had checked his watch during a similar ceremony wouldn't have been met with a wave of criticism is only trying to convince themselves because the rest of us ain't buying it.

 
 
 
dennis smith
Masters Silent
3.2.1  dennis smith  replied to  Texan1211 @3.2    2 weeks ago

Biden has clearly shown that he is not in control of his schedule. His comments about others telling him who to ask questions and how many questions to take or just walking off stage because he has been directed to do that.

Gullible supporters of him are getting less and less in number.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.2.2  TᵢG  replied to  dennis smith @3.2.1    2 weeks ago
Gullible supporters of him are getting less and less in number.

So let's be clear here.   You note that Biden is losing support (no doubt that is true).   But you call those who remain 'gullible'.   Okay, maybe that is true.

Do you support Trump?

Do you believe Trump won in 2020?

Do you think, especially given the Big Lie, that Trump should be reelected given his demonstrably abysmal character and integrity?

Just curious to see where you stand given your comment on the Biden supporters.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
3.2.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Texan1211 @3.2    2 weeks ago

I read that FOX News has now admitted that Biden was not looking at his watch.  So much for the garbage bullshit.

 
 
 
JaneDoe
Sophomore Silent
3.2.4  JaneDoe  replied to  Texan1211 @3.2    2 weeks ago

Well, USA Today updated this fact check.

Corrections & Clarifications: This story was updated Sept. 2 to note that Biden checked his watch multiple times at the dignified transfer event, including during the ceremony itself. The rating on this claim has been changed from partly false to missing context.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.2.5  Texan1211  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3.2.3    2 weeks ago

See post 3.2.4.

Thanks!

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Senior Expert
3.2.6  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  JaneDoe @3.2.4    2 weeks ago

jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif     jrSmiley_28_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.2.7  Texan1211  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3.2.3    2 weeks ago
I read that FOX News has now admitted that Biden was not looking at his watch.  So much for the garbage bullshit.

So now you are using a source you routinely criticize.

Do you believe Fox, [deleted] eyes after seeing actual, real photos of the President actually looking at his watch?

Why would anyone deny what is evident?

Garbage bullshit is denying what your own eyes see.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
3.2.8  Sean Treacy  replied to  JaneDoe @3.2.4    2 weeks ago

Good catch..

What a ridiculous attempt at a fact check. 

 
 
 
JaneDoe
Sophomore Silent
3.2.9  JaneDoe  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.2.8    2 weeks ago

The Gold Star families being accused of lying was pissing me off! I am glad USA Today set the record straight.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.2.10  Tessylo  replied to  JaneDoe @3.2.9    2 weeks ago

Whatshisname, #45, doesn't give a shit about Gold Star parents or those brave dead soldiers, they're all losers in his eyes.  The only one he cares about is himself.  

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Senior Expert
3.2.11  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Tessylo @3.2.10    2 weeks ago

Projection, deflection, and denial all you have?

 
 
 
JaneDoe
Sophomore Silent
3.2.12  JaneDoe  replied to  Tessylo @3.2.10    2 weeks ago

Whatever. This article is about Biden.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.2.13  Tessylo  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.2.8    2 weeks ago
"Good catch.."

No, it wasn't.  

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.2.14  Texan1211  replied to  JaneDoe @3.2.12    2 weeks ago

TDS turns everything into a discussion of Trump.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
3.2.15  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  JaneDoe @3.2.4    2 weeks ago
"Well, USA Today updated this fact check."

That's why I read USA Today for the news, and once in a while Fox news for a laugh.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
4  Tessylo    2 weeks ago

horse-dead.gif

 
 
 
JaneDoe
Sophomore Silent
4.1  JaneDoe  replied to  Tessylo @4    2 weeks ago

That’s your opinion. I don’t think the Gold Star families who were in attendance to see their soldiers body come home and were then being accused of lying would agree.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
4.1.1  Tessylo  replied to  JaneDoe @4.1    2 weeks ago

That wasn't intended for you dear.  Did I address you?  It's a comment on the entire 'article'.  

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4.1.2  Texan1211  replied to  JaneDoe @4.1    2 weeks ago
That’s your opinion. I don’t think the Gold Star families who were in attendance to see their soldiers body come home and were then being accused of lying would agree.

They probably wouldn't.

But since this is Biden, you aren't supposed to criticize anything he does, ever.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4.1.3  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  JaneDoe @4.1    2 weeks ago

One of the Gold Star fathers told Fox that Biden looked at his watch 13 times, one for each casket. 

I find that extremely unlikely.  I also find it unlikely that he looked at his watch four times in the 45 minutes the ceremony lasted.  Once, I will buy because that appears to be what happened , athough it is not completely clear either. 

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Senior Expert
4.1.4  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  JohnRussell @4.1.3    2 weeks ago

See  post 3.2.4

 
 
 
JaneDoe
Sophomore Silent
4.1.5  JaneDoe  replied to  Tessylo @4.1.1    2 weeks ago
It's a comment on the entire 'article'.  

Not really a comment. It was a stupid Gif that I am free to respond to.

 
 
 
Kathleen
Professor Principal
4.1.6  Kathleen  replied to  JaneDoe @4.1.5    2 weeks ago

Yeah... I am not into beating poor dead animals. 

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
4.1.7  Tessylo  replied to  JaneDoe @4.1.5    2 weeks ago

Whatever.  

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
4.1.8  Tessylo  replied to  JaneDoe @4.1.5    2 weeks ago

Never said you couldn't

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
5  Tessylo    2 weeks ago

See post 4

 
 
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