FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Democratic Members Of Congress Sitting During The Pledge?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

An image shared on Facebook more than 10,000 times purportedly shows Democratic members of Congress sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance.

“Mad at an athlete?” reads the caption. “This is your government.”

Verdict: False

The photo, taken in 2009, actually shows New York state senators abstaining from the pledge as a form of protest.

Fact Check:

Members of both the House and Senate observe the Pledge of Allegiance before commencing their daily legislative duties. Many state legislatures also maintain this tradition.

The Facebook post alleges that 10 men identified in the image are Democratic congressmen refusing to stand for the pledge. It has been shared more than 10,000 times. (RELATED: Does This Image Show Members Of Congress Playing Solitaire While In Session?)

“Our US (sic) CONGRESS blowing off the pledge of allegiance to our flag. The same way they do their oath of office,” reads the post. “BTW The ones sitting are ALL Democrats.”

Through a reverse image search, the Daily Caller discovered that the photo does not actually show members of Congress. The photo, taken by The Associated Press photographer Tim Roske in 2009, captures New York state senators remaining seated during the Pledge of Allegiance.

“Democratic state senators, top, except for Pedro Espada, D-Bronx, remain seated as Republican senators and staff begin a session with the Pledge of Allegiance at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., Tuesday, June 23, 2009,” reads the caption.

Democrats controlled the New York State Senate by a 32-30 margin at the beginning of the 2009 summer, but Republicans took control June 8 after State Sens. Pedro Espada and Hiram Monseratte voted with them to elect Republican State Sen. Dean Skelos as the majority leader, reported The New York Times. Democrats protested the leadership change by refusing to stand for the recitation of the pledge June 23, 2009.

Both Monseratte and Espada rejoined the Democratic Caucus on June 15 and July 9 respectively, restoring Democratic control of the State Senate, according to The Times.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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