Fact Check

Did Someone Wear 'Kamala Harris Mask' to Pose as Her at 2023 SOTU Speech?

Beware of aging.

Published Feb. 8, 2023

 (Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Image Via Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Claim:
Video accurately showed someone claiming to be U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris sitting behind U.S. President Joe Biden at his State of the Union speech on Feb. 7, 2023. The person’s mask appears to be slipping off through loose-appearing skin around her neck, proving that she is posing as Harris.

U.S. President Joe Biden's State of the Union speech on Feb. 7, 2023, came with its fair share of absurd rumors, but one pertaining to Vice President Kamala Harris was especially preposterous. A number of TikTok users claimed that rolls of skin that appeared to be looser around Harris' neck were actually indicative of a mask slipping off, revealing that someone else was sitting in as her behind Biden during his speech.

This tweet asked, "Who Do They Have Wearing The Kamala MASK?" while posting a video that said, "what is this creature that doesn't breathe and has fish gills [...]." The video repeatedly zooms in on Harris' neck where her skin hangs loosely around her face. 

Other videos on TikTok make the same claim, with one calling her "reptilian" and saying her neck is "peeling." 

Harris' neck is not peeling, nor is a mask coming off to reveal someone else sitting in her place. In the below video, at various points, natural wrinkles and lines can be seen on Harris' neck as she claps and stands up:

Harris is not a reptilian creature with gills. The appearance of sagging skin around the neck is largely due to the angle of the head and the camera in some instances, and her own aging. 

You can see her in photographs at different points, and her neck appears normal. 

state of the union address 2023
President Joe Biden arrives to speak to Congress during his State of The Union address on Feb. 8, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

state of the union address 2023
(Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The claim appears to be an example of the "body double" conspiracy theory we have encountered before. The theory usually relies on poor-quality footage, or edited images, to claim that famous people in public are cloned or using body doubles. 

In this case, the claim also relies on body shaming to pretend that more sinister forces are at play. We therefore rate this claim as "False." 

Sources

"Biden in State of Union Exhorts Congress: 'Finish the Job.'" AP NEWS, 7 Feb. 2023, https://apnews.com/article/state-of-the-union-biden-2023-b9bebd876a42a9510f068a04a3f2a348. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kasprak, Alex. "Is This Yet Another Picture of a Melania Trump 'Body Double'?" Snopes, 26 Oct. 2020, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/melania-trump-body-double-2/. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Palma, Bethania. "No, TikTok Video Doesn't Show a Joe Biden 'Double.'" Snopes, 7 June 2022, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/tiktok-video-joe-biden-body-double/. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.