Social media users shared photos of President Joe Biden in the Oval Office, claiming they provide proof that the office is a fake or a film set. The “evidence” includes a supposed change in wallpaper, allegedly darkened windows, and claims that former President Trump is walking in the background outside the office. Reuters examined each of these photos and found none of the claims to be true.
One of the posts (here) reads, “The Oval Office is the movie set for Castle Rock ~ Hollywood. You watched a movie. New parking lot in the background and LOL Trump is walking through both windows. The Oval Office does not have PARKING with cars in front of its window. It is a complete fake. #CeoJoe signs blank pieces of paper. “
As so-called proof, the post includes a series of photos that show Trump can be seen in the window behind Biden (here, here); the color of the carpet has changed since Trump’s Oval Office (here, here); there is a tank outside the window (here); the background of the windows behind Biden does not match that of Trump’s Oval Office (here, here); the windows are darkened (here); the wallpaper is not the same as Trump’s Oval Office (here, here); and the post also includes photos of Oval Office film sets (here, here).
Captions on other similar posts read, “So the executive orders are signed on a movie set … I see that on the back, they put Trump on the window.” Lol ”(here); “This is all a production for people… Bidey (sic) isn’t even IN the Oval Office… except the Castle Rock duplicate studio!” ( here ); and “The Castle Rock Oval Office was used for Disney’s ‘Nixon’ and 20th Century Fox’s ‘Independence Day’ and quite possibly the big debacle we’ve witnessed recently!” ( here )
Some proponents of the widely debunked QAnon conspiracy, which is based on the idea that former President Trump is secretly fighting a cabal of child sex predators that includes prominent Democrats, Hollywood elites and “Deep State” allies. (Here), feel that Biden is not the president and the military that is in power until Trump returns to power on March 4 and exposes the alleged cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile elite cannibals. Reuters has refuted some of those claims here – a US government defense official told Reuters by email that neither martial law nor insurgency law had been declared.
Oval Office film sets exist but there is no compelling evidence Biden’s recently photographed desk is a film set (here, here).
Biden can be seen entering the White House following his inauguration in this Reuters video here, and the White House in the following days in other Reuters videos here, here, here and here, as well as in official videos from the White House here and here.
PARKING AND TANKS
The post claims that there is a parking lot and a tank in the background of the Oval Office, seen through the picture windows, while there is no parking at that location at the White House.
The Oval Office is located in the southeast corner of the West Wing of the White House and faces the South Lawn and Rose Garden, as shown on the West Wing business card and the grounds map of the White House here and here.
As such, the Oval Office does not have outdoor parking, but it does have a private path around the south lawn that would be visible from the window, as shown on White House visiting cards ( here), the National Park Service (here) and satellite view from Google Maps (bit.ly/3pysRMg). The road can be seen in Reuters and Getty Images photos here, here and here.
There’s a vehicle visible outside the window behind Biden in the Oval Office, as seen in these clips from MSNBC (here) and PBS News Hour (here). However, the vehicle does not look like a tank, but rather a truck, and there is no indication that the presence of this vehicle proves a military takeover.
TRUMP WALKS BY IN THE BACKGROUND
The messages allege that former President Trump can be seen through the window walking behind the Oval Office in a video of Biden signing executive orders.
The screenshots appear to be taken from this Ruptly video here (14:21 timestamp). In the Ruptly video, as well as the official White House video (here), someone can be seen in the window passing by. The quality of the video means Reuters was unable to identify the person passing by, but she appears to be wearing a thong that bounces off her chest as she walks, which is unlikely for an incumbent president.
The footage was taken on January 20, the day of Biden’s inauguration. That day, outgoing President Trump flew in Marine One to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida (here). He can be seen flying to Florida on Air Force One here, and arriving in Palm Beach here and here. Reuters and Associated Press photos of Trump at Palm Beach International Airport can be seen here, here and here. As of January 25, Trump had made no public appearances since his flight to Florida here.
CONTEXT IN IMAGE WINDOWS
Social media posts claim that the background seen through the windows behind Biden is not the same as the background seen behind Trump when he was president.
Much like the photo of Trump in the social media posts here, a tree branch can be seen in the middle window behind Biden and a bush can be seen in the right window (see Reuters photos here and here ). Trump’s photo appears to have been taken at a time of year when there are more leaves on the trees.
Sometimes, the gardens of the White House are redesigned: the Rose Garden, to which one of the oval doors of the office leads, was redesigned by former First Lady Melania Trump in August 2020 (here, here).
The post claims the windows are still darkened in Biden’s Oval Office, suggesting they are trying to hide what is outside.
However, light entering through the windows behind Biden and the White House gardens can be seen through the windows in Reuters photos here and here, as well as in video footage here, here, here and here.
The photos showing darker windows behind Biden were likely taken at darker times of the day.
BIDEN SIGNING PIECES OF WHITE PAPER
The reports claim Biden was signing blank pieces of paper, but the green files are executive orders, as reported on the official White House website here, by Reuters here, and by other media here, here, here.
Clearly the papers are not blank as the handwriting can be seen on the pages of this CNBC footage here and the White House video here.
The posts claim that the change in color of the carpet on the floor of the Oval Office is proof that this is not the real Oval Office.
The Oval Office is the president’s official workspace, and most new presidents choose new draperies, furniture, and rugs when they enter, as well as artwork and artifacts from the White House collection, museums and collectors (here). Different oval office decors over time can be seen here.
Biden made a few changes to the decor of the Oval Office, as explained in reports here, here and here.
Biden changed the rug, which is standard practice for incoming presidents and doesn’t mean the Oval Office is fake: While Trump had a cream rug, Biden adopted a dark blue Clinton-era rug with a border floral (here, here).
The rug in Biden’s new office can be seen here and here. Trump’s cream colored rug can be seen here. The two can be seen side by side in this tweet here . The cream-colored carpet under Barack Obama’s administration can be seen here.
The posts claim that Biden’s Oval Office wallpaper does not match Trump’s Oval Office wallpaper, meaning Biden’s desktop must be fake.
Although Biden would have had the right to change the wallpaper, as explained above, he did not change the wallpaper: the wallpaper in Biden’s Oval Office can be seen in Reuters photos here and here and the corresponding Trump wallpaper can be seen here and here. The photo in Trump’s social media posts in the Oval Office with stripped down wallpaper was taken before he made renovations in 2017: The wallpaper before the renovations can be seen here and here, and after renovations. renovations here and here. wallpaper, as seen here.
False. None of the so-called evidence presented in social media posts proves Biden’s Oval Office to be false.
This article was written by the Reuters fact-checking team. Learn more about our fact-checking work here.