Does Video Show Biden Signing Blank Executive Orders?

White pages that have been overexposed in a video can be difficult to read.

  • Published 27 January 2021
Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images

Claim

U.S President Joe Biden signed "blank executive orders" on Jan. 21, 2021, rendering those orders invalid.

Rating

Origin

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U.S. President Joe Biden signed a flurry of executive orders after his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021, many of them reversing policies of former President Donald Trump. Subsequently, Trump supporters online began casting doubt on the legitimacy of these orders and drawing negative comparisons between his process and Trump’s, often with little evidence.

One particular video shared by the Facebook page PolitiChatter claimed that Biden was not signing real executive orders, but just blank pieces of paper. In the clip, someone is shooting a video of what appears to be a television broadcast of Biden’s signing. The camera zooms in on the pages Biden signs and a voiceover claims no writing is visible on those pages. “These people are faking this!” the voiceover claims.

The video was low quality and overexposed, making any writing on the white pages illegible. However, we found higher quality images from the same Jan. 21 event Getty Images’ library. We verified this was the exact same event by comparing stills from the video to what Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were wearing that day and the location of the signing ceremony.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 21: U.S. President Joe Biden signs an executive order as Vice President Kamala Harris looks on during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House January 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden delivered remarks on his administration’s COVID-19 response, and signed executive orders and other presidential actions. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 21: U.S. President Joe Biden signs an executive order during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House January 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden delivered remarks on his administration’s COVID-19 response, and signed executive orders and other presidential actions. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 21: U.S. President Joe Biden signs an executive order during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House January 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden delivered remarks on his administration’s COVID-19 response, and signed executive orders and other presidential actions. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In the second photo, a close-up shot by Alex Wong clearly shows Biden signing pages with printed words on them. As some photographs’ colors are adjusted to show higher contrast, print on white paper becomes more visible, something that isn’t apparent in all images that may be edited in post-production.

By contrast, the PolitiChatter video is overexposed, and details in the photograph appear lightened, including Biden’s tie, Harris’ outfit, and the white pieces of paper he signed. 

Furthermore, Biden’s full list of executive orders is published on the White House website. We thus rate the above claim as “False.”