White House slams "cheapfake" clips portraying Biden "freezing"

Washington DC - The White House on Monday criticized Republicans for spreading videos purported to show President Joe Biden's mental and physical decline, saying the images had been deceptively cut and manipulated.

President Joe Biden has appeared disoriented in a series of videos the White House has is brushing off as "cheapfake."
President Joe Biden has appeared disoriented in a series of videos the White House has is brushing off as "cheapfake."  © REUTERS

"It tells you everything that we need to know about how desperate Republicans are here," Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, branding the clips as "cheapfake" videos.

Outlets including the New York Post and an official Republican social media account have shared several seemingly damning short videos in recent days of the 81-year-old president.

In one video, an apparently disoriented Biden appears to wander away from fellow world leaders while watching a skydiving display during a G7 summit in Italy last week.

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But Jean-Pierre said the footage was misleadingly edited, and Biden instead was moving to give a thumbs up to the parachutists.

"This was widely fact checked ... including by conservative media," she said at a media briefing, adding, "if you run that tape a little bit longer than you'd see ... what was happening."

Earlier in the week, NBC also debunked the claim, posting footage caught by its own cameras from another angle online which showed Biden interacting with the parachutists just a few feet away.

White House claims more Biden videos are misleading

President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders watch a skydiving display in Savelletri, Italy.
President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders watch a skydiving display in Savelletri, Italy.  © REUTERS

Another widely-shared clip was a close-up shot of Biden standing still as world leaders danced close to him during a concert at the White House – which opponents said showed a state of confusion.

"The president stood there listening to the music, and he didn't dance. Excuse me. I did not know not dancing was (...) a health issue," Jean-Pierre said of the video.

And on the weekend, the New York Post again shared a video appearing to show Biden getting lost on stage during a fundraising event in California, before being pointed to an exit by former president Barack Obama.

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Andrew Bates, another White House spokesperson, said on X that Biden was instead waiting on the stage to appreciate the applause from his supporters.

And Eric Schultz, a senior Obama adviser, posted a link to the Post article on X, writing: "this did not happen."

Biden's main rival in the November election, Republican Donald Trump, has made Biden's advancing age one of his main campaign rallying points, trying to position himself as an energetic alternative – despite being, at 78, just three years younger.

Whoever wins the vote will set a new age record.

Biden is already the oldest man to hold the office and would continue to be so, while if Trump wins, he would become the oldest ever at an inauguration.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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