FACT CHECK: Is This Image Of A Blurred Presidential Seal Proof That Biden Is Not The President?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Instagram claims a picture of President Joe Biden at a desk with a blurred presidential seal is proof he is not the president.

 

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A post shared by republic45 (@republic45_)

Verdict: False

The seal was blurred due to a federal statute that states the presidential seal can not be used by non-government entities like political parties. The blurred seal does not indicate Biden is not the president.

Fact Check:

Biden signed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law Nov. 15, according to NPR. Since then, some social media users have shared images of Biden sitting at a desk signing the bill in which the presidential seal on the desk is notably blurred out. Some of these users have alleged the blurred seal is proof that Biden is not the real president.

“Fake white house set, Fake Biden. Blurred seal….” reads the caption of one such image shared on Instagram.  (RELATED: Is Joe Biden’s Recent 39% Approval Rating Lower Than Donald Trump’s Ever Was?)

This conclusion, however, is inaccurate. The blurred seal is due to a federal statute, U.S. Code § 713, which states that anyone who displays the seal “for the purpose of conveying, or in a manner reasonably calculated to convey, a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States or by any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.” In other words, the seal is only to be used for official government purposes and is not to be displayed in any materials distributed by political parties.

The image included in the post appears to have been pulled from a short clip of the president signing the bill posted by the verified Twitter account of the Democratic Party and is therefore subject to the statute. The same video was subsequently reshared on Vice President Kamala Harris’ verified personal Twitter account and on Biden’s verified Instagram account, The seal is notably not blurred in a different video from the same event shared by Biden’s official presidential Twitter account.


The presidential seal was also blurred in several of former President Donald Trump’s campaign videos, such as this 2019 ad announcing his campaign for reelection and this 2018 ad on his personal Facebook page.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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