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Gabrielle Settles
By Gabrielle Settles March 1, 2022

Joe Biden is not holding a medical device in photo tweeted during the 2022 Winter Olympics

If Your Time is short

  • President Joe Biden was not holding a medical alert device in a photo he took with first lady Jill Biden. It was a black COVID-19 face mask.

During the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, President Joe Biden tweeted a photo of himself and first lady Jill Biden, in which they both donned Team USA gear to cheer on American athletes. 

That photo sparked some conspiracy theories. "There’s something odd about Joe and Jill’s Olympic photo…What’s in Joe’s hand?" said the headline of a blog post shared on Facebook.

"Many suspect it’s a medical device of some sort," the blog post said, claiming that it could be a medical alert device, which is an alarm used to call for help in the event of a medical crisis. "Or perhaps it’s a walkie-talkie, though why the president would be holding one is unknown." 

The blog post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

The White House told PolitiFact that Biden is holding a mask, not a medical device, in the photo he tweeted Feb. 18, which was also shared on Instagram.

Black seems to be the typical color of choice for the president’s face masks, and he can often be seen either wearing one or holding it in his hand after taking it off. 

President Joe Biden wearing or holding a mask. Left photo: in the State Dining Room of the White House, Jan. 7, 2022. Middle photo: Walking down from Air Force One in Lansing, Mich., Oct. 5, 2021. Right photo: in the East Room of the White House, Aug. 11, 2021. (AP Photos)


This isn’t the first time we’ve come across a claim about Biden’s masks — a video was taken out of context to falsely claim he handed his own used mask to Justice Stephen Breyer during a press conference announcing Breyer’s retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court. The mask that he handed Breyer was a white one. Biden wore a black mask, which he held onto throughout the conference.

The claim that Biden was holding a medical alert device masks the truth. Pants on Fire!

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘Cheap fakes’: Viral videos keep clipping Biden’s words out of context


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Joe Biden is not holding a medical device in photo tweeted during the 2022 Winter Olympics

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