Less than two hours before he was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden arrived at the U.S. Capitol with Vice President Kamala Harris.
News outlets captured the moment as Biden, Harris and their respective spouses emerged from the motorcade, made their way up the steps to the Capitol and walked through its doors.
As Biden passed by a pair of U.S. Marines at the entryway, Biden's voice, through his mask, was picked up on the microphone. The video footage has now fueled an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that the president was being fed instructions on the day of his inauguration.
'Salute the Marines'
Social media users shared the footage on Twitter claiming that Biden received instructions to "Salute the Marines" through his secret earpiece as he made his way inside the federal building, as presidents customarily do. They claim Biden repeated the command out loud instead of actually offering a salute.
"Someone in Biden's earpiece told him to salute the marines, and Biden just repeated the words 'salute the marines,' because he is so used to just repeating what comes from his earpiece. The marines were not saluted," wrote a Twitter user along with a snippet from C-Span's live coverage of the Inauguration Day events.
The C-Span footage that is being cited as evidence of Biden's secret earpiece does not actually prove the social media users' claim. There is no indication from the clip that Biden was wearing a hidden headset and taking orders through it and it is not clear what exactly he said, either.
Several Twitter users pointed out that they heard Biden say, "Good looking Marines."
"That's a more reasonable explanation tha(n) 'Biden had a secret earpiece yesterday, only once accidentally repeated his Deep State instructions, and a random guy noticed it,'" Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel, who often debunks manipulated media on his Twitter feed, wrote.
Facebook posts sharing similar clips were flagged as part of Facebook's efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. This is not the first time Biden has been the subject of a "secret earpiece" conspiracy theory. During his campaign, similar unfounded claims alleging Biden wore a wire surfaced in the wake of the first presidential debate.