In April 2021, U.S. Twitter users began to tweet about receiving an “unexpected” letter in their mailboxes. The letter, which was purportedly signed by U.S. President Joe Biden and packaged in an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) envelope, detailed stimulus check payments and the American Rescue Plan. The federal assistance was intended to help Americans in the recovery effort during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Did anybody else get a letter from the IRS which was actually a letter from Joe Biden patting himself on the back for a job well done?
— Angelic isn't here to cap for white supremacy (@angelic_elaina) April 29, 2021
Criticism of Trump Signature
In the past, former U.S. President Donald Trump added his signature to COVID-19 stimulus checks, also known as Economic Impact Payments.
The IRS Letter From Biden
Snopes.com obtained a copy of the letter. At the top, it said “The White House”:
‘An Internet Explorer President’
Just got a letter from the IRS and when I opened it, it was just a letter from Joe Biden letting me know about the stimulus check we got 2 months ago. Bro I thought we were getting audited
— James 🐎🔫 Presented by Rocket Mortgage (@buffalocialism) May 10, 2021
Others remarked about how the letter was perhaps quite late for the subject matter:
Just got a letter from the IRS telling me I should expect the $1400 stimulus I already received in March within the next 7 days, signed President Joseph R Biden Jr.
He truly is an Internet Explorer President.
— dR Guy Squiggs pHd ⚕️ (@GuySquiggs) May 10, 2021
In case readers don’t get the ageist joke here, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser has long been considered by some users to be inferior, slower, and more vulnerable to security issues than newer (read: younger) applications such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
The White House Responds to Questions
On May 7, 2021, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the letter signed by Biden. Business Insider reported that she told a reporter that the letter was “not intended to make it about him.”
Reporter: Thanks Jen. On the subject of the stimulus checks, the president sent out a letter to millions of Americans who have gotten these checks and just a few weeks ago, when you were asked if his name was going to be on the checks, you said this is not about him. So why did he feel the need to send this letter?
Jen Psaki: Well, I think the primary driving reason at the time several weeks ago was that it could potentially delay the direct payments going out if they needed to be signed by the President, and we just didn’t think that was an appropriate step to take. So this is a pretty standard letter that goes out with physical checks that are made of which there are a small percentage of these checks that are actually physical checks, but it was just a letter that went out with them, but not intended to make it about him. It’s about the American people. And we didn’t have him sign the checks because we were concerned about any impact that would have on delaying them going out to the public.
In sum, it’s true that Biden signed his name on a letter about stimulus check payments that was sealed in an IRS envelope and sent to American households.