Officials serving in President Joe Biden’s administration have taken their oaths of office, and most can be seen in videos from their swearing-in ceremonies. But a video circulating on social media falsely suggests that they haven’t been sworn in and are “acting as elected officials without swearing an allegiance to the Constitution.”
Jacob Chansley, also known as the “QAnon Shaman,” was sentenced to 41 months in prison for participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, but he was released early to a halfway house on March 28 because of his plea agreement and prison protocols. Social media posts falsely claim that his release was due to videos shown by Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was one of 17 members of Congress arrested at an abortion-rights protest on July 19. But social media posts falsely claim she was “pretending to be arrested.” Capitol Police records show the arrests did occur, and the congresswoman posted the arrest paperwork on her Instagram account.
Politico misidentified Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a photo of a Jan. 7 dinner of Democrats – the same day she participated remotely in oral arguments. Politico corrected the error on Jan. 8. But social media posts continued to wrongly claim Sotomayor attended the dinner and appears in the photo. The woman pictured is Sen. Chuck Schumer’s wife.
James Ray Epps was at the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. But there is no evidence that he was an FBI plant assigned to instigate the riot, as a conspiracy theory — embraced by at least two members of Congress — claims. There is evidence, however, that Epps once held a leadership role in the Oath Keepers, some of whose members have been charged in the attack.
Members of the Capitol Police will be among the first to testify during the House select committee investigation into the Jan. 6 riot, according to Rep. Bennie Thompson, who will lead the panel. But social media posts have made the unfounded claim that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “won’t let Capitol Police testify about what happened Jan. 6.”
A video showing Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg departing the White House on a bike was misrepresented by conservative commentators online, with some claiming he “staged” the ride. There’s no evidence for that claim, and the Department of Transportation said he traveled from the department to the White House — a three-mile trip — and back on bike.
Conservative social media posts misleadingly claim the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was not an “armed” insurrection, citing FBI testimony that no guns were seized from suspects that day. But 23 people have been charged with having deadly or dangerous weapons during the assault — including a loaded handgun found on a man arrested on Capitol grounds.
Before President Joe Biden’s inauguration, social media users shared a false claim that there was no flag flying over the White House — suggesting it was a sign that the military had taken control of the government. In fact, the flag was flying above the White House on Jan. 20, and Biden is president.