‘Cheapfakes’: White House blasts clips purporting to show Biden’s decline

Biden camp hits out at viral videos that have been seized on as evidence of US president’s frailty.

Biden Obama
US President Joe Biden has been facing scrutiny over his age as the oldest person to ever hold the office [Alex Brandon/AP]

United States President Joe Biden’s administration has accused his opponents of spreading disinformation about his physical and mental fitness after a series of viral videos reignited concerns about the Democratic standard-bearer’s age.

In a news conference on Monday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the clips purporting to show Biden’s decline had been deceptively edited or misrepresented.

“It tells you everything that we need to know about how desperate Republicans are here,” Jean-Pierre told reporters, labelling the clips “cheapfake” videos.

Republican social media accounts and conservative media outlets have shared videos purporting to show Biden, 81, freezing up or wandering off on his own in recent days.

In one clip, Biden is shown appearing to wander away from other world leaders during a skydiving demonstration at the G7 summit in Italy.

However, versions of the clip circulated by right-wing social media accounts and the New York Post were cropped to obscure a parachutist that Biden was walking towards when appearing to wander off.

Another widely circulated clip shows Biden standing motionless while surrounded by people who are dancing to music at a Juneteenth celebration held last week at the White House.

“The president stood there listening to the music, and he didn’t dance… Excuse me, I didn’t know that not dancing was a health issue,” Jean-Pierre said.

“That is a weird thing to actually flag. If you look at the people around him… there were some folks who were not dancing either.”

In the most recent clip to go viral, Biden pauses in front of the crowd at a fundraising gala for about seven seconds before being led offstage by former President Barack Obama.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Andrew Bates said in a post on X on Monday that Biden’s critics were pretending that “taking in an applauding crowd for a few seconds is somehow wrong” to distract from the president’s achievements.

Former US President Donald Trump, who is running against Biden on the Republican ticket in November, has repeatedly attacked the president over his age and fitness, although, at 78, he is just three years younger.

Either Biden or Trump would be the oldest person to ever hold the office of the presidency by the end of his term.

While some videos of Biden appearing frail or confused have been deceptively edited, opinion polls have shown that voters view his age as a concern and are less worried about Trump’s health.

In a New York Times/Siena poll released in March, 73 percent of registered voters said that Biden was too old to be an effective president, compared with 42 percent who said the same about Trump.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies