The claim: A concrete wall is 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 don’t exist.
“I don’t know what but something is happening with the National Guard activated in 48 states and a giant concrete wall being built around the White House,” a Facebook post read on January 14. “Who knows maybe I’ve been in the twilight zone and that’s normal.”
A number of conservative blogs, including Conservative Treehouse and the Gateway Pundit, speculated that the alleged concrete wall was raised for security reasons. A TikTok video with the claim received over 13.4 million views in one week.
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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 assertion implies.
White House spokespersons told USA TODAY that the slabs were related to a routine maintenance project. The National Guard is helping hospitals manage COVID-19 across the country.
USA TODAY has contacted the websites and social media users who shared the claim for comment.
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White House spokespeople Amanda Finney and Chris Meagher told USA TODAY that the “concrete wall” outside the White House is not a wall at all.
“There is a normal maintenance construction project underway at the North Fountain in front of the White House,” they said in separate emails.
As of Jan. 22, the structure only surrounds the fountain — not the rest of the building, according to White House webcam footage.
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 were not mobilized due to impending disaster. They were sent to help with an existing: COVID-19.
“National Guard troops have helped distribute food and (personal protective equipment), supported contact tracing and tracing, and their medical teams have supported direct patient care and will now assist in the administration of vaccines,” FEMA says on its website.
Around 18,000 troops have been deployed through April 1, at a cost of around $2.7 billion.
Our opinion: Missing context
Based on our research, we assess 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, as 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 events are unrelated. White House spokespeople said the slabs were due for a routine maintenance project, while the National Guard is helping states manage the COVID-19 response.
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