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Video of Trump family in tent was filmed before Capitol riot

January 8, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows President Donald Trump, members of his family and members of the Trump administration watching a screen and celebrating from a tent as rioters stormed into the U.S. Capitol building in a violent siege.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The content on the screen, the commentary by Trump’s son and the music in the video indicate that it was filmed earlier on Wednesday, well before a mob stormed into the Capitol.

THE FACTS: The video shows the president standing in a white tent watching a TV screen as members of his family talk and dance to Laura Branigan’s 1982 hit “Gloria” in a party-like atmosphere.

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In it, Donald Trump Jr. films the scene, saying, “I think we’re T-minus a couple of seconds here, guys, so check it out, tune in, if you’re livestreaming.” He turns the camera to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, calling him “an actual fighter.” Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, dances to the music and encourages Trump supporters to “have the courage to do the right thing — fight.”

In the days since rioters breached the U.S. Capitol building in a violent insurrection, social media users have shared various versions of the video with claims it shows Trump gleefully watching the destruction unfold.

“Trump his family, and more watching the riot at the Capitol,” read a post with the video that was viewed a million times on Twitter and shared by prominent figures including the filmmaker Judd Apatow.

“Trump and his crime family we’re watching the staged coup attempt with Gloria playing in the background,” read another widespread tweet with the video. “Arrest them now!”

But these posts misrepresent the video, which was filmed well before the Capitol riot.

The video clearly shows Trump, his family and colleagues watching scenes of the crowd at a rally to decry the Electoral College results that happened at Freedom Plaza earlier in the day. On the screen, the “SAVE AMERICA MARCH” banner that hung during the event is visible with a crowd standing in front of it.

The screen shows no violence, nor does it show rioters entering the Capitol building.

The song “Gloria” in the background is another clue — the song played at the rally before the president took the stage. It can be heard at the 2.5-hour mark in a YouTube video of the event.

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Trump spent much of the afternoon in his private dining room off the Oval Office watching scenes of the violence on television, according to reporting by The Associated Press.

Trump Jr.’s comments, “T-minus a couple of seconds,” likely referred to the time until the president’s speech, which began shortly after “Gloria” finished playing.

Comments encouraging Trump supporters to “fight” seem to refer to fighting the results of the U.S. election, which were scheduled to be counted and reaffirmed in Democrat Joe Biden’s favor before the melee broke out on Wednesday.

After the chaos on Wednesday, Congress returned to its chambers and confirmed Biden’s win before dawn Thursday.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536