Was Barack Obama Serving Meals in Texas During Hurricane Harvey?

Images of the former president serving food appeared alongside claims that he was in Houston after massive flooding there, but the picture was actually taken during a 2015 charity event.

  • Published 28 August 2017

Claim

Former President Barack Obama was in Houston serving food to people affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Rating

Miscaptioned
About this rating

Origin

On 26 August 2017, Twitter user Aiden Benjamin posted a picture he claimed showed former President Barack Obama helping people affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Benjamin posted the picture three times, with his first post garnering more than 7,000 retweets.

The caption read:

#HurricaneHarvey #PrayForTexas “Rockport”
Something youll [sic] never see trump do:

Obama is in texas serving meals!

Benjamin posted the picture two more times, each with captions criticizing Obama’s successor, President Donald Trump. The photograph quickly went viral.

This photograph does show President Barack Obama serving food to people in need, but it was not in 2017, nor did it show people displaced by a hurricane. The picture was actually taken on 25 November 2015, when he and his family served meals to homeless U.S. military veterans during an event at St. Luke’s Methodist Church in Washington D.C.

There is no indication Obama has been in Texas since the hurricane made landfall, but he did post a link on Twitter encouraging his followers to donate to the American Red Cross.

On 28 August 2017, Benjamin posted:

I took down the tweet of obama [sic], I apologize to people who thought it was real. also to @callrail I apologize!

We asked him whether he knew the picture of Obama was not taken in 2017 when he posted it. He has yet to respond.

Snopes.com
Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

Editorial
  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
Operations
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes