Joe Biden is being ruthlessly mocked for continuing to pose in front of a fake White House window framing a Rose Garden in impossible spring bloom.
The digital recreation of the famous White House scene, staged across the street from the genuine White House, hasn’t updated its software to reflect the reality of a Washington DC in the fall.
“Truman Show Presidency,” tweeted Human Events senior editor Jack Posobiec, referencing the 1998 Jim Carey classic. “They gave Joe Biden a playschool desk and a fake Oval Office in a fake White House,” he added.
The multi-purpose set is in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across W Executive Ave NW has been used for multiple staged photo ops, including Mr Biden’s recent Covid vaccine booster shot and a global coronavirus summit.
Photos of Biden in front of the simulacrum went viral, for the second time, after Conservative commentator and podcast host Benny Johnson asked why the president “felt the need to use a Fake White House set across the street from the actual White House.
Stephen Miller, the former senior adviser to Donald Trump, speculated it was because the president could only read scripts off teleprompters in the White House for formal addresses.
“The reason Biden uses this bizarre virtual set for televised meetings—and not an actual room like East Room, Cabinet, Oval, Roosevelt, Sit Room, etc.—is because it allows him to read a script directly from a face-on monitor,” he tweeted.
“WH created this bizarre set-up to create illusion that Biden’s running a normal human *meeting* when he’s actually delivering a scripted text,” he added.
The South Court Auditorium where the set is constructed has been used previously by Barack Obama and Donald Trump, but the new set was constructed by the current administration to hold meetings during the coronavirus pandemic.
Former White House events director Josh King told The Washington Examiner it is the latest iteration of “PoliOptics,” used by every modern president.
“Every week in Washington has an element of theatre and stagecraft, one side or another working to take full advantage of visual storytelling,” he said.
The Biden administration’s “PoliOptics” was thrust into the mainstream after Charlie Kirk, the founder of right-leaning non-profit Turning Point USA tweeted a wide shot of the president receiving his vaccine booster showing the full set and amassed media apparatus.
“Nothing is real with these people, it’s all smoke and mirrors. But we’re supposed to entrust them with all of our personal health decisions?” he tweeted.
The resulting memes spreading online faster than the Delta variant prompted several attempts from fact-checking organizations to dispel claims of a fake White House.
PolitiFact ruled as “False” the statement that the White House created a fake set just for Joe Biden’s booster shot.
“The backdrop behind Biden as he was getting his booster shot wasn’t “created” for that event — it had been used five days earlier for a global coronavirus summit,” PolitiFact said.
The set and the fact check were themselves mocked as blatant “kayfabe”, the term used by pro-wrestlers describing layers of a hidden fake reality on top of the sport’s openly scripted fakery.
Eric Weinstein, the host of The Portal podcast and managing director of Thiel Capital who popularized Kayfabe to describe performative politics, said the fact checks of the fake White House lead to an erosion of trust in the country’s institutions.
“How they debunk you, using a straw man when you see through their cheap Potemkin village so easily and impudently choose to speak out about it,” he tweeted.
On Wednesday, Mr Biden used the White House set to discuss the debt ceiling and meet with business leaders and CEOs.
Abigail Marone, press secretary for senator Josh Hawley asked why the White House built a “literal game show set complete with fake windows for Joe Biden??? So weird”.
New Hampshire journalist Kimberly Morin asked if the White House does “not allow him in the actual White House,”
Fox News columnist said the digital projection made Mr Biden look like an English teacher doing a cameo in a high school musical.
“Remember the Trump green screen scandal? Now Biden gives speeches on a set made of Legos and nobody is remotely curious,” he tweeted.
Mr Trump’s non-green screen scandal from the South Lawn of the White House occurred in October 2020.
The New York Times claimed in a since stealth-edited article that the speech “appeared to be a digital backdrop as leaves blowing in the wind behind him could be seen repeating on a loop”.
The unverified claim was widely reported in the lead up to the presidential election as evidence Mr Trump was unwell.
“I think it’s pretty clearly a green screen. The sharpness of the outline and the lighting. Also, it’s a very long way to bring a sick president to shoot something when you have the Rose Gardenl,” tweeted MSNBC host Chris Hayes.