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Bill McCarthy
By Bill McCarthy July 8, 2022

Trump was in SUV after Jan. 6 rally, not presidential limousine

If Your Time is short

  • The Secret Service told PolitiFact that former President Donald Trump was in an SUV as he was driven away from his rally at the White House Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021.

  • A photo circulating on Facebook of Trump in a presidential limousine was taken in 2020.

Shortly after former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson appeared before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, social media users supportive of former President Donald Trump raced to undermine key moments from her testimony.

Hutchinson was an aide to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows. Hutchinson said Tony Ornato, the top White House aide for security, told her  that Trump, after his Jan. 6 rally insisted on going to the U.S. Capitol with his supporters. And as he was being driven back to the White House, Trump lunged for the steering wheel after Secret Service agents refused to take him to the Capitol, Hutchinson said Ornato told her..

Although Hutchinson testified under oath on June 28, some social media users implied or explicitly argued that she was not telling the truth about Trump.

Several widespread posts on Facebook showed an image of Trump riding in the back-row seat of a presidential limousine commonly referred to as "the Beast," far from the driver. The posts suggested that Trump was riding in the same limousine on Jan. 6 and therefore could not have reached for the steering wheel. (Hutchinson repeatedly referred to "the Beast" as she testified before the committee.)

The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Featured Fact-check

But Trump did not take the presidential limousine pictured in the Facebook posts as he departed his rally at the White House Ellipse. Trump was in an SUV that day, a Secret Service spokesperson confirmed to PolitiFact.

A C-SPAN video of Trump’s speech at the rally — which the House Jan. 6 select committee showed during Hutchinson’s testimony — shows the presidential motorcade leaving the location. All the vehicles were SUVs.

The photo of the limousine shared in the Facebook posts was not taken on Jan. 6, 2021, reverse image searches revealed. It was snapped in 2020 and shows Trump in the vehicle after landing in Santa Ana, California, according to a caption on Shutterstock.

There’s no evidence that Trump was in the presidential limousine shown in the Facebook posts after his Jan. 6, 2021, rally.

We rate these Facebook posts False.

Our Sources

Facebook post, June 30, 2022

Facebook post, June 29, 2022

The Washington Post, "Trump supporters raced to debunk Jan. 6 testimony. Then they got confused," June 30, 2022

CNN, "Accounts of Trump angrily demanding to go to Capitol on January 6 circulated in Secret Service over past year," July 2, 2022

Jan. 6th Committee on Twitter, June 28, 2022

C-Span on YouTube, "January 6th Committee Sixth Public Hearing," June 28, 2022

C-Span, "Rally on Electoral College Vote Certification," Jan. 6, 2021

Shutterstock, Photo, Oct. 18, 2020

Statement from the U.S. Secret Service, July 7, 2022

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Trump was in SUV after Jan. 6 rally, not presidential limousine

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