CLAIM: Vice President Mike Pence delivered empty boxes of personal protective equipment to a nursing home for a publicity stunt.
THE FACTS: The claim went viral on social media after the show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” aired a selectively edited clip of Pence joking about carrying empty boxes “for the camera.” The full clip obtained by The Associated Press confirms that Pence did not actually deliver empty boxes.
On Thursday, Pence helped deliver personal protective equipment, typically referred to as PPE, to the Woodbine Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, a nursing home in Alexandria, Virginia. The full C-SPAN video shows Pence delivering boxes of the equipment and then returning to a van containing more boxes. A microphone captures Pence talking with a person supervising. “Those are empty, sir. We’re good to go,” the person supervising says. Pence responds, “Can I carry the empty ones, just for the camera?” The person replies, “Absolutely.” Pence then begins laughing and shuts the van doors. He does not take any of the empty boxes.
After showing the edited version of the C-SPAN clip on his show, Kimmel said, “Mike Pence pretending to carry a big box of PPEs into a hospital is the perfect metaphor for who he is and what he’s doing: a big box of nothing, delivering another box of nothing." The show posted the edited clip on its Twitter account on Friday with the caption “A big box of nothing, delivering another box of nothing.” The tweet has been deleted. Multiple media outlets picked up the false claim and published it. Social media accounts also pushed the misleading edit. “Mike Pence caught on hot mic delivering empty boxes of PPE for a PR stunt,” a Twitter user stated in a tweet viewed more than 5 million times.
Jimmy Kimmel apologized Friday on Twitter, clarifying that the video did not show the full incident: “It would appear that @VP was joking about carrying empty boxes for a staged publicity stunt. The full video reveals that he was carrying full boxes for a staged publicity stunt. My apologies. I know how dearly this administration values truth,” Kimmel said. Jon Thompson, a campaign spokesperson for Pence, called out Kimmel on Twitter for putting out the misleading clip. “This is absolute garbage spread by @JimmyKimmel. Pence is clearly joking about empty boxes & if Kimmel showed the full clip from CSPAN, not the one he selectively edited, you see and hear it.”