FACT CHECK: Does This Clip Show Michelle Obama Unveiling Kenyan Deputy Presidential Candidate Martha Karua’s Portrait?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook allegedly shows former First Lady Michelle Obama unveiling a portrait of Kenyan Deputy Presidential candidate Martha Karua during a women’s conference.

Verdict: False

The footage has been digitally altered. The original version showed the 2018 unveiling of Michelle Obama’s official portrait at the National Portrait Gallery.

Fact Check:

Karua was selected as Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s deputy presidential candidate last month for the country’s election in August, BBC News reported. Her selection marked the first time a female in the country had been nominated as a deputy presidential or presidential candidate, according to the outlet.

In the video, which first appeared on TikTok May 30, Michelle Obama and American artist Amy Sherald pull down a curtain to apparently reveal a portrait of Karua. The June Facebook post’s caption says the unveiling took place “at a Women’s Conference in the U.S.” (RELATED: Did Michelle Obama Surrender Her Law License Because Of Insurance Fraud?)

The video is digitally altered. A reverse image search found that the footage stems from a ceremony by the Smithsonian Institute in 2018 for the unveiling of Michelle Obama and former President Barack Obama’s official portraits.

While both Michelle and Barack Obama’s official portraits are in the museum, no such portrait of Karua exists in the Smithsonian’s  National Portrait Gallery nor do any of the paintings on Sherald’s website feature her. There are likewise no news reports suggesting the Smithsonian or any organization has unveiled a picture of her during any conference.

This is not the first time Karua has been the subject of misinformation online. Check Your Fact previously corrected a false rumor that Vice President Kamala Harris celebrated the deputy president’s candidacy on Twitter.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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