Fact Check

Did Rep. Jim Jordan Say 'Obama and Biden Were Cowering on Air Force 1' on 9/11?

Nothing jump-starts a Twitter fight better than obvious failures in chronology.

Published July 30, 2019

 (Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com)
Image courtesy of Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan defended President Trump by proclaiming that Barack Obama and Joe Biden were "cowering on Air Force One" on 9/11.

On July 29, 2019, a tweet ostensibly quoting U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) as asserting that former President Barack Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden, had been "cowering in fear on Air Force 1" in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., while Donald Trump was "on the ground with first responders searching for survivors and pulling people to safety," achieved viral status:

This tweet prompted outraged responses from people who took it at face value, most of them vociferously pointing out that George W. Bush was president at the time of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, and Obama was not elected to that office until more than seven years later:

But the tweet was just a spoof mocking President Trump and his Republican supporters by playing on a controversial comment Trump had made the previous day about his presence among first responders who were searching for survivors in Lower Manhattan immediately after the 9/11 attacks: "I was down there also, but I'm not considering myself a first responder. But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you."

The purported quote from Rep. Jim Jordan was a fabricated one created by Dan Lyons, a journalist and writer for the HBO comedy series "Silicon Valley." Lyons told Newsweek that "You wouldn't be surprised if those guys said something that ridiculous. I kind of thought people would know it's a joke, but I guess I should stamp it. That's always the risk with satire."

Lyons later tweeted about the virality his previous tweet had achieved:


Cillizza, Chris.   "You'll Never Believe What Donald Trump Just Said About 9/11."     CNN.   30 July 2019.

Hutzler, Alexandra.   "'Obama and Biden' Trend After Satirical Jim Jordan Quote About Trump, 9/11 Goes Viral."     Newsweek.   30 July 2019.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.