Transportation Secretary and cycling enthusiast Pete Buttigieg decided that breezing over to the Biden Administration’s first cabinet meeting on Thursday on his bike would make for a terrific photo op.
But he didn’t want to actually ride the three miles from the Department of Transportation to the White House. He was wearing a suit, for goodness sake.
A short distance from his destination, Buttigieg’s armored SUV stopped. Security personnel unloaded the bike and the green energy zealot hopped on and rode away looking every bit as victorious as Primož Roglič.
Unfortunately for Buttigieg, CNN White House correspondent DJ Judd saw the vehicle stop and began recording as security staffers were closing up the SUV and handing the bike over to Buttigieg.
As the Secretary pedaled to the White House, two SUVs “followed close behind,” according to Fox News.
And biked out of the complex. pic.twitter.com/M50jDbEQ1s
— Katie Barlow (@katieleebarlow) April 1, 2021
The fact that Judd’s video only captured staffers closing up the SUV and missed them actually removing the bike from the vehicle left Team Buttigieg with an out. Or so they thought.
After numerous conservatives posted Judd’s video to social media, fact checker Snopes was on it. They determined the statement that “U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was caught on camera staging a short bike ride after riding in an SUV” was FALSE. Snopes slapped a big red “X” on the story.
According to Snopes, “These headlines, YouTube video titles, and tweets were all misleading and false. Buttigieg was not caught on camera staging a bike ride. We contacted the U.S. Department of Transportation. A spokesperson told us: “He rode his bike to the White House Cabinet meeting and he rode his bike back to DOT after the meeting.”
Oh, well, that proves it, doesn’t it?
Next, Snopes tells readers, “According to Google Maps, the 6-mile round trip might take around 40 minutes on a bicycle.” How is that even relevant?
The fact check continues, “The video in question was first posted by CNN journalist DJ Judd, who made no mention of Buttigieg staging the bike ride.” Does it matter? He certainly implied it.
“The video showed Buttigieg mounting the bicycle and eventually riding away with the SUV following him. Katie Barlow from SCOTUS blog replied to DJ Judd’s tweet, writing: ‘And biked out of the complex.'” More irrelevance.
“As for why the SUV was there, Buttigieg has a security detail. The bicycle appeared to have been stored on the SUV’s bike rack while he was inside the White House for a Cabinet meeting.” Please.
To further “prove” their case, Snopes noted that, “DJ Judd’s video was subsequently shared on Buttigieg’s own Twitter account, an odd choice if he had been “caught” doing something in a bad light.”
“In sum, no, Buttigieg was not caught staging a bike ride after riding in an SUV. Countless headlines, YouTube video titles, and tweets were misleading and false.”
That was a rather feeble fact check, wasn’t it? Snopes performed some serious sleuthing there. Does Snopes realize that none of these points address the fact that Buttigieg’s SUV stopped a short distance from the White House, his staff removed the bike, and the green energy devotee who actually did nothing to reduce his carbon footprint by pulling this stunt enjoyed a nice little photo op upon his arrival several minutes later.
Unbeknownst to any of them, a new video recorded by local media outlet WFMZ emerged, which can be viewed here.
WFMZ’s reporter had been just a tad quicker on the draw than Judd. This video shows security staffers actually lifting the bicycle out of the SUV and handing it over to Buttigieg, rather than merely closing up the SUV once it had been removed.
Snopes? Do you have any comment? Snopes?