This week, as Gold Star families mourned the loss of their loved ones whose lives were taken in service to the United States, USA Today felt it necessary to fact-check the claim that President Joe Biden repeatedly eyed his watch during the dignified transfer ceremony last Sunday.
In the original fact check, USA Today labeled the claim that Biden checked his watch repeatedly during the ceremony “Partly False,” arguing that images of him glancing at his wrist happened after the ceremony had ended. The fact check did not include the testimonies of several Gold Star families, who claimed to have personally witnessed Biden’s actions:
Based on our research, we rate PARTLY FALSE the claim that Trump saluted the caskets of fallen U.S. service members, while Biden checked his watch. The pictures are real, but they don’t accurately summarize the two events. The way Biden honored the 11 caskets presented at Dover Air Force Base, with a hand over his heart, was similar to how Trump paid respects to fallen service members during his presidency. Biden checked his watch, but he did so after the ceremony had ended.
After significant backlash, USA Today issued a correction, admitting that Biden did check his watch during the ceremony and including Gold Star family statements. The rating was subsequently changed to “Missing Context”:
“As my son and the rest of our fallen heroes were being taken off the plane yesterday I watched you disrespect us all five different times by checking your watch,” Shana Chappell, mother of Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, wrote in an Aug. 30 Facebook post.
Darin Hoover, father of Marine Staff Sgt. Darin Taylor Hoover Jr., and Mark Schmitz, father of Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that Biden checked his watch multiple times during the dignified transfer. Hoover said it happened after each casket was presented.
USA TODAY was unable to independently verify exactly how many times Biden looked at his watch.
The publication explained that the “Missing Context” rating is in reference to a popular meme that compared a photo of former President Trump saluting caskets during a previous transfer ceremony with the photo of Joe Biden eyeing his watch.
“Corrections & Clarifications: This story was updated Sept. 2 to note that Biden checked his watch multiple times at the dignified transfer event, including during the ceremony itself,” said the outlet. “The rating on this claim has been changed from partly false to missing context.”