A photograph of President Joe Biden in the White House Situation Room has sparked theories online that the 80-year-old leader is suffering from dementia.
Shared to Biden’s X account on Tuesday, the photo shows numerous administration officials holding a meeting on the current conflict between Israel and Palestine.
Yet one aspect of the photo has caught the eye of some users online, mainly, the name placards featured on the Situation Room table.
In posts across social media, users stated that it was unusual for all the placards to be facing Biden as opposed to their respective owners.
“Look at their name plates,” one user wrote. “They have to have them turned towards president potato so he knows who they are. What a clown show.”
Others were more sensational in their claims, describing the photo not only as “disturbing” but as proof that Biden is suffering from severe memory loss.
“Dementia makes it hard to remember names,” another added. “So, Joe has all the nameplates facing him. Makes it hard to remember events in history to provide context for things happening today.”
The photo also made its way to numerous right-wing forums such as Patriot.win, the successor to TheDonald that was shut down following the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021.
“He’s not making any decisions at all,” one user said.
But not everyone was fond of the theory. Many argued that the nameplates were simply facing the conference television so remote attendees could see them.
“I think it’s pretty common practice in an up/down channel meeting,” another commenter on the forum said. “The name tag thing, anyway.”
So is it unusual for name tags to be facing towards a president? The Daily Dot examined numerous Situation Room photos from the administrations of former President Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush.
Four images uploaded by Trump in 2020 to X, then known as Twitter, show all the name placards facing the individuals and not the president.
Several photos of the Situation Room under Obama’s tenure likewise show the name placards facing their owners.
In one example, Obama and Biden can be seen meeting with members of the National Security Council in the Situation Room in 2014.
An image taken in the Situation Room in 2007 showing Bush holding a video teleconference with then-U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair indicates that the name placards were set the same as well.
Based on a summary glance, it does appear that the placing of the name placards in the photo shared by Biden is different from those of his predecessors.
Regardless, it is unclear what led to the placement, which by itself is not evidence of Biden having dementia.
The discussion is just the latest surrounding Biden’s age and his ability to effectively lead. The age of politicians in general has become a topic of debate in recent years as more and more Congress members reach their 70s and 80s.