The claim: A large group of bikers showed up to Walter Reed hospital to pray for Trump
A widely shared video on social media claims thousands of motorcyclists showed up to Walter Reed Military Medical Center to pray for President Donald Trump after he tested positive for COVID-19.
“Washington D.C-Bikers show up to The Walter Reed Hospital to pray for President Trump,” reads the caption of a video of bikers kneeling posted to Facebook that has been shared more than 7,000 times.
The claim also was shared by 100 Percent Fed Up, a far-right news and opinion blog that is rated as a questionable source by Media Bias/Fact Check.
“A touching video of a large group of bikers has gone viral for its images of the prayer for President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump,” the article reads.
Upon being contacted by USA TODAY for comment, 100 Percent Fed Up said it would update the story and add a correction after being fact-checked by Lead Stories.
“I didn’t say where the bikers were praying because I could not find any information on the location. I looked everywhere. I didn’t say it was at Walter Reed because I could not confirm. I am correcting right now to reflect what Lead Stories found out,” 100 Percent Fed up said in a message to USA TODAY.
Welovetrump.com posted the video to its site as well and wrote: “If this doesn’t give you goosebumps, you might want to see a doctor. Thousands of bikers gathered at Walter Reed,”
USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user and the community platform welovetrump.com for comment.
Video is from a protest in South Africa
The watermark on the top left corner of the viral video shows that it was posted to TikTok by user James Riley.
Riley’s TikTok timeline reveals that he originally uploaded the video weeks ago on Sept. 11. He then reposted the video on Oct. 2, the day Trump was admitted to Walter Reed.
Riley captioned the video, “#foryou #trump #trump2020 #fortnite.” Users in the comments perceived that the video was taken on the day it was posted.
A video from FreeWestMedia posted to YouTube on Aug. 31 reveals that the video is of a protest against farm murders in Pretoria, South Africa.
“During a massive protest against the widespread and gruesome farm murders in South Africa, thousands of motorcyclists engaged in prayers in both English and Afrikaans in Pretoria,” reads the caption of the video.
Peter Adams, senior vice president of education at the News Literacy Project, found that a Google Street view shows the two locations in both videos match up. Adams also highlighted media coverage of the mass gathering dated Aug. 31.
Supporters outside Walter Reed
The video is not of motorcyclists praying for Trump, but Trump supporters have gathered outside Walter Reed throughout the weekend.
Trump left the hospital briefly Sunday to greet those supporters and waved to them from the back seat of an SUV as it passed the demonstration, USA TODAY reported.
Dan Scavino, Trump’s deputy chief of staff for communications, posted a video of supporters to Twitter where he thanked “all of the Great American Patriots who have come out tonight in support of @realDonaldTrump.”
Other users shared videos of White House chief of staff Mark Meadows thanking the supporters outside Walter Reed.
According to Fox Baltimore, Trump supporters came together for what became “a cross between a prayer vigil and campaign rally.”
Our ruling: False
The claim that hundreds of bikers recently gathered outside Walter Reed hospital is FALSE, based on our research. A Tik Tok user initially posted the video on Sept. 11 and reposted the video on Oct. 2. The video is from August of people protesting against farm murders in South Africa.
Our fact-check sources:
- James Riley, Oct. 2, TikTok video
- James Riley, Sept. 11, TikTok video
- Peter D. Adams, Oct. 4, tweet thread
- Google Street View, accessed Oct. 5, Madiba St., Pretoria, South Africa
- FreeWestMedia, Aug. 31, Bikers pray in Pretoria against farm murders
- farmer’s weekly, Aug. 31, 40 000 bikers protest against farm murders and rural crime
- Dan Scavino, Oct. 4, tweet
- Jack Posobiec, Oct. 2, tweet
- Fox Baltimore, Oct. 4, Trump fans show support outside Walter Reed Medical Center
- Lead Stories, Oct. 4, Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Bikers Praying For President Trump At Walter Reed Hospital
- USA TODAY, Oct. 4, ‘Interesting journey’: Donald Trump drives by supporters outside Walter Reed, claims progress in another video
Source: USA Today by McKenzie Sadeghi