On May 16 2022, a screenshot of a purported tweet attributed to Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) circulated, pinning the blame for a “severe thunderstorm watch” in New York to the policies of United States President Joe Biden:
— Takagi (Transformer) (@otakuloversan) May 16, 2022
In the above tweet from 2:57 PM Eastern Standard Time, an account tagged the verified account @laurenboebert and stated Boebert “has Biden derangement syndrome.” That was accompanied by claims that Boebert “deleted this tweet,” attaching what appeared to be a screenshot of a May 16 2022 tweet.
That screenshot displayed a time stamp (10:12 AM) and a date, May 16 2022. To the right of the date, however, was a suspiciously solitary dot — one which usually preceded text like “Twitter Web App.”
The tweet attributed to Boebert read:
There is a Severe Thunderstorm Watch in NEW YORK CITY. Joe is even destroying the Blue States.
Although it appeared on first glance that random capitalization appeared in the screenshot of a tweet, that wasn’t entirely the case. On May 16 2022, “Severe Thunderstorm Watch” was a Twitter trending topic, and it rendered in the same way it was typed in the screenshot.
A quick search of politicians’ deleted tweets of ProPublica’s Politwoops showed us that the most recent deleted tweet on the @laurenboebert account was on May 3 2022. We also located what appeared to be the first appearance of the Boebert “Severe Thunderstorm Watch” tweet, from the account @FaithRubPol (at 2:42 PM Eastern Standard Time):
Severe Thunderstorm Watch & she blames Biden? 🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/QuyIQlWkr9
— Back Rub 👉 PLZ follow! 👊👍 (@FaithRubPol) May 16, 2022
A November 2021 Reuters fact check about a different fake tweet noted that the “screenshot was shared by the Twitter account @FaithRubPol which clearly identifies itself as satirical.” Similarly, the @FaithRubPol iteration (tweeted 15 minutes prior to the other embedded tweet) did contain information to the right of the dot; it read “Parody by Back Rub.”
As a “Severe Thunderstorm Watch” went into effect for New York on May 16 2022, screenshots of a purported tweet by Rep. Lauren Boebert claiming that U.S. President Joe Biden was “even destroying the Blue States.” That “screenshot” was originally created with a visible satire warning. Fifteen minutes after @FaithRubPol shared the satirical tweet, another user blocked out the “Parody …” element and falsely claimed “she deleted the tweet.”