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In a photo released by The White House, President Joe Biden meets virtually with his national security team on Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021, at Camp David. The photo touched off unfounded conspiracy theories online. (The White House via AP) In a photo released by The White House, President Joe Biden meets virtually with his national security team on Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021, at Camp David. The photo touched off unfounded conspiracy theories online. (The White House via AP)

In a photo released by The White House, President Joe Biden meets virtually with his national security team on Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021, at Camp David. The photo touched off unfounded conspiracy theories online. (The White House via AP)

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke August 17, 2021

If Your Time is short

  • A photo the White House shared on Aug. 15 showed clocks in different cities. According to the clocks, the time difference between London and Moscow was three hours but due to daylight savings, it’s only two right now. Claims that this is evidence that the photo is old or doctored are unfounded. 
 

A stopped clock is right twice a day, but is a clock that’s an hour behind evidence that the president of the United States used an old photo to pretend he was engaged in foreign policy?

Some on social media are claiming it does, but we’ve found no such evidence. 

On Aug. 14, the verified White House Twitter account tweeted a photo of President Joe Biden sitting alone in a suit jacket at a table on a video conference call at Camp David. 

"This morning, the President and Vice President held a video conference with the national security team to discuss the ongoing efforts to draw down our civilian footprint in Afghanistan," the tweet said. "In addition, the President and Vice President were briefed on the earthquake in Haiti."

The next day, the White House tweeted another photo of Biden sitting alone on a video conference call at Camp David. In this photo, Biden is wearing a polo shirt.

"This morning, the President and Vice President met with their national security team and senior officials to hear updates on the draw down of our civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul," the tweet said. 

Both images show digital clocks meant to reflect the time in other cities. In the first, it looks like it’s 11:03 a.m. in Washington D.C., 16:03 — 4:03 p.m. — in London and 19:03 or 7:33 p.m. in Moscow. In the second image, it looks like it’s 26 minutes later in both cities.  

The time difference between Washington D.C. and London is five hours. But the time difference between London and Moscow is only two hours right now, not three, as it appears in the images. 

"Real question," tweeted Boris Epshteyn, a former adviser to Donald Trump. "Why is Moscow time wrong in this photo?"

Some people on social media offered their own ideas. 

Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s son, tweeted: "Having spent time at Camp David where everyone is a total professional I would find it hard to believe that a clock would be off by a minute let alone by an hour. If this is a photo taken at a prior time to make it seem like Joe is working the admin has some explaining to do." 

"Is this a stock photo?" another account asked.

The White House didn’t respond to PolitiFact’s requests for comment about the clock in the photos. 

But, as Newsweek reported, Moscow is sometimes three hours ahead of London. However, the United Kingdom is currently on British Summer Time, a period when the clocks are turned ahead an hour so that there’s more daylight in the evenings and less in the mornings. 

We found no evidence the photo was staged, and claims that say so ignore a more likely scenario – that the clock was not updated for British Summer Time.

According to Biden’s public schedule, he arrived at Camp David on Aug. 13 and was there on Aug. 14 and 15, when the White House shared those photos. He was still there on Aug. 16 but flew back to DC to make a national address regarding Afghanistan before returning again to the Maryland property that evening.

Biden has made several other trips to Camp David since becoming president, including in February, March, April, May, June and July.

When the clocks go back on Oct. 31, London will again be three hours behind Moscow, which in 2014 stopped observing daylight savings time.

 
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