Mike Lee spreads fake claim of Biden medical emergency on Air Force One

Utah Senator then attacked media for being untrustworthy, during frenzied posting on social media

On Friday evening, Utah Sen. Mike Lee used his personal X/Twitter account to amplify a baseless claim that President Joe Biden was having a “medical emergency” on Air Force One. It’s unclear if Lee tried to verify the falsehood before sharing it with his 224,000 followers.

The claim started with far-right activist and conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer, who posted without attribution that “Joe Biden is reportedly having a medical emergency on Air Force One. Press access has been removed.”

A Community Note, a tool on X, formerly known as Twitter, that empowers people to add context to misleading posts, debunked Loomer’s claim, noting journalists traveling with the president reported there was no incident, and Biden exited the plane on his own.

After Loomer’s false claim made its way to podcaster Monica Crowley, Lee ran with it.

“If Biden is having a medical emergency at this moment - on Air Force One or otherwise - that raises...a lot of questions,” Lee posted.

On Saturday morning, Lee’s post had more than 1.8 million views and was shared nearly 1,000 times.

Longtime congressional reporter Jaime Dupree pointed out the White House press pool reported Biden “was already back home by the time Lee was pressing the send button.”

Crowley attempted to backtrack on the falsehood, claiming there were “conflicting reports” about Biden’s health. Lee made no attempt to distance himself from the inaccurate report.

A few hours after helping to spread disinformation online, Lee attacked the media for being untrustworthy. He also claimed that Biden was being run like a puppet by former President Barack Obama.

Lee’s spokesperson, Billy Gribbin, refused to answer questions from The Salt Lake Tribune about whether Lee tried to verify the falsehood about Biden before posting or why he felt Crowley was a credible source for the information.

Lee’s spreading of misinformation came amid a now regular habit of frenzied posting on X/Twitter. On Friday, Lee posted on the platform 58 times, close to his average pace. Over the past 30 days, Lee posted nearly 1,800 times, almost 60 per day. The most he’s posted in one day during the past month was 151 times on June 28.