Posts falsely claim Biden left D-Day event early, ignored veterans

Critics of Joe Biden are suggesting a video shows him departing early from a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of D-Day without acknowledging veterans, leaving Emmanuel Macron to honor them alone. But this is false; the clip omits footage that shows the US president stayed until the event's conclusion and shook hands with World War II survivors before exiting, with his French counterpart not far behind.

"Dr. Jill Biden quickly escorts Joe Biden away leaving a seemingly perplexed French President Emmanuel Macron to honor WW2 veterans alone," says Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, a Donald Trump acolyte whom AFP has previously fact-checked for spreading misinformation, in a June 6, 2024 post on X and Instagram.

<span>Screenshot from X taken June 7, 2024</span>
Screenshot from X taken June 7, 2024

Another post from activist Jack Posobiec adds: "Jill Biden just pulled Joe out of the Normandy event, Macron staying behind with the veterans. What’s going on?"

The posts share a 33-second video of the US president and first lady exiting an event that celebrated the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, when tens of thousands of Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy in northern France in what became a turning point in World War II.

The camera then pans to show Macron still addressing veterans in the crowd, at one moment pointing in Biden's direction.

The shortened video comes from the Republican National Committee (RNC), which posted it with the caption: "Jill, Ed.D., escorts Joe Biden out as French President Macron stays behind to greet veterans."

Other posts promoting the RNC's video claim it caught Biden as he "abandoned vets" or darted out "in the middle of an event." Some reference false claims that the Democrat lost control of his bowels and had to leave the stage.

The commemorations were closely watched for their historical significance but also in the context of a looming British election and feverish US presidential race. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak endured a torrent of flack and was forced to apologize on June 7 for leaving France early.

But the notion that Biden left the event in the footage early and snubbed veterans is false and appears to be the latest disinformation posted online and designed to frame Biden, 81, as senile, confused and incapable of leading the nation ahead of November's presidential election.

The RNC's video is misleadingly edited.

Full livestream footage of the ceremony from The Times, a British newspaper, makes clear that Biden shook hands with six people on stage before walking off with his wife (archived here).

Macron did go on to greet a few others in the crowd. However, the longer video from The Times shows he then joined his wife and followed the US president and first lady out, leaving about a minute after them.

Biden also interacted with several veterans on his way into the event and again when Macron honored some with France's National Order of the Legion of Honor, the country's highest decoration.

<span>US President Joe Biden (C) speaks with US WWII veteran Richard Stewart after he was awarded the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur (French Legion of Honour) by France's President Emmanuel Macron (L) during the US ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II D-Day Allied landings in Normandy, at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer on June 6, 2024</span><div><span>SAUL LOEB</span><span>AFP</span></div>

The US president delivered remarks, saying D-Day showed the need for international alliances and vowing never to abandon Ukraine in its fight against Russia -- a swipe at his election rival ex-president Trump, who has publicly questioned the importance of organizations such as NATO.

"We're living in a time when democracy is more at risk across the world than at any point since the end of World War II," he said.

AFP contacted the White House for comment, but no response was forthcoming.

AFP has debunked other misrepresented videos of Biden hereherehere and here.