A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Obama Didn’t Attend G-20 in 2017


Q: Did former President Barack Obama follow President Donald Trump to the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany?

A: No. That claim was made on websites that don’t “make any warranties” about the reliability of their information.

FULL QUESTION

I read a posting on Facebook that said Obama showed up at the G-20 conference and is shadowing Trump. It sounds like fake news to me. Is it?

FULL ANSWER

Former President Barack Obama didn’t attend the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, in early July as headlines on a viral story falsely claim. Several readers asked about the story, which Facebook users also flagged as potentially fake news.

Obama Goes to G20 Summit,” reads the headline on one version of the story published July 8 on World-politicus.com. The same story, published on Wetheproudpatriots.com, was headlined, “Obama Shows Up In Germany For G20 Acting Like The President … Look What He Did To Screw Trump.”

“Obama is a shadow president that will not leave the current administration alone,” the story says. “He has been doing everything he can to mess up what Trump is doing. And being a liberal elite, he can get away with it. Everywhere President Donald Trump goes, Obama shows up too. A little odd, no? This concerning practice has gotten on the last nerve of the Trump administration and it shows that they are concerned with what Obama is trying to do. Obama needs to realize that he is no longer the president, no matter how much he wants to be.”

But neither website provides any evidence to support the headlines stating that Obama was at the 2017 summit, where leaders from 19 countries and the European Union gathered to discuss international cooperation on financial and economic issues.

Instead, those websites point to a July 7 story published by the Young Conservatives website, which only faulted the Obama administration for not making hotel reservations for the U.S. delegation. BuzzFeed, followed by several other media outlets, had reported that the Trump administration couldn’t find available hotel rooms in Hamburg. The president stayed at the city government’s guesthouse.

In fact, the “terms and conditions” page of the We the Proud Patriots website says the site “does not represent or imply that it endorses the material there posted, or that it believes such material to be accurate, useful or non-harmful.” And a “disclaimer policy” on World-politicus.com says it “does not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information you find on this website (world-politicus.com), is strictly at your own risk.” That makes both websites unreliable sources for genuine news.

Other sites that published the story about Obama attempted to bolster their false headlines with photographic evidence.

Snoopack.com, for example, included a photo of Obama standing near German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but it’s an image from the 2015 summit in Turkey. The photo that Xbn-news.com published along with the story shows Obama talking to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 2016 summit in China.

The official group photo from the 2017 summit includes Trump, not Obama.

In an email to FactCheck.org, an Obama spokesman confirmed that the former president “was not at the G20 summit, Germany or even Europe and was never scheduled to be there.” Obama was last in Germany in May for an event with German Chancellor Merkel, his spokesman said.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label viral fake news stories flagged by readers on the social media network. 

Sources

G20.” G20.org. Acccessed 10 Jul 2017.

Obama Goes To G20 Summit.” World-politicus.com. 8 Jul 2017.

We The Proud Patriots. “Obama Shows Up In Germany For G20 Acting Like The President… Look What He Did To Screw Trump.” Wetheproudpatriots.com. 8 Jul 2017.

FAQs.” G20.org. Accessed 19 Jul 2017.

Miller, Andrew Mark. “Trump Left Without Hotel Reservation In Hamburg, and Turns Out Obama Is Directly Responsible.” Youngcons.com. 7 Jul 2017.

Engert, Marcus. “President Trump Apparently Couldn’t Find A Hotel To Book For The G20 Summit.” Buzzfeed.com. 5 Jul 2017.

Chavez, Aida. “Trump couldn’t find hotel to book for G-20: report.” Thehill.com. 6 Jul 2017.

Sampathkumar, Mythili. “Donald Trump ‘has trouble finding hotel room at G20 summit.’” Independent.co.uk. 6 Jul 2017.

Trump finally finds place to stay in Hamburg for G20 summit.” Thelocal.de. 9 Jun 2017.

Terms and Conditions.” Wetheproudpatriots.com. Accessed 14 Jul 2017.

Disclaimer Policy.” World-politicus. Accessed 14 Jul 2017.

Obama Goes To G20 Summit.” Snoopack.com. 8 Jul 2017.

Turkey – G20 – Summit.” Afpforum.com. 15 Nov 2015.

Xbn-news. “Оbаmа Shоws Up In Gеrmаny Fоr G20 Асting Likе Thе Prеsidеnt… Lооk Whаt Hе Did Tо Sсrеw Тrump.” Xbn-news.com. 8 Jul 2017.

China-G20-Summit-Putin-Obama.” Gettyimages.com. 5 Sep 2016.

Wagner, Meg and O’Key, Sean. “Who’s who in the 2017 class photo of G20 leaders.” Cnn.com. 7 Jul 2017.

Collinson, Stephen. “Without naming Trump, Obama defends merits of globalism.” Cnn.com. 25 May 2017.