The claim: A concrete wall is being erected around the White House and the National Guard has been activated in 48 states
While the coronavirus pandemic, election disputes and social unrest have made the past two years unusual, some on social media are connecting dots that aren't there.
"Not sure what but something is going on with the National Guard activated in 48 states and a giant concrete wall being built around the White House," a Jan. 14 Facebook post reads. "Who knows maybe I have been in the Twilight Zone and this is normal."
A number of conservative blogs, including Conservative Treehouse and the Gateway Pundit, theorized the supposed concrete wall was raised for security reasons. A TikTok video with the claim received more than 13.4 million views within a week.
The concrete slabs in front of the White House are real, and the National Guard has been deployed across the country. But the two are not related, as the claim makes it seem.
White House spokespeople told USA TODAY the slabs are related to a routine maintenance project. The National Guard is helping hospitals manage COVID-19 across the country.
USA TODAY reached out to the websites and social media users who shared the claim for comment.
White House project, National Guard deployment not connected
White House spokespeople Amanda Finney and Chris Meagher told USA TODAY the "concrete wall" outside the White House isn't a wall at all.
"There is a normal maintenance construction project happening at the North Fountain in front of the White House," they said in separate emails.
As of Jan. 22, the structure only surrounded the fountain – not the rest of the building, according to webcam footage of the White House.
Meanwhile, as of Jan. 14, President Joe Biden had approved 48 state and three territorial requests for federal support to use the National Guard, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
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But the troops weren't mobilized because of an impending disaster. They've been sent to help with an existing one: COVID-19.
"National Guard troops have helped distribute food and (personal protective equipment), supported contact tracing and testing, and their medical teams have supported direct patient care and now will assist with vaccine administration," FEMA says on its website.
About 18,000 troops have been deployed through April 1, at a cost of about $2.7 billion.
Our rating: Missing context
Based on our research, we rate MISSING CONTEXT the claim that a concrete wall is being erected around the White House and the National Guard has been activated in 48 states, because without additional information it could be misleading. The concrete slabs in front of the White House are real, and the National Guard has been deployed across the country – but the two occurrences aren't related. White House spokespeople said the slabs are because of a routine maintenance project, while the National Guard is helping states manage the response to COVID-19.
Our fact-check sources:
Amanda Finney, Jan. 19, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Chris Meagher, Jan. 19, Email exchange with USA TODAY
EarthTV, retrieved Jan. 22, WEBCAM WASHINGTON D.C. WHITE HOUSE LIVE STREAM
FEMA, updated Jan. 14, National Guard Deployment Extended to Support COVID-19 Response
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: No tie between White House construction, National Guard