UPDATE: In response to criticism, Snopes switched their “false” rating to “true” on Saturday.
David Emery, one of the fact-checking sleuths at Snopes, defended President Joe Biden on Friday against accusations that he wore a hard hat backwards during a recent photo op in Wisconsin. The only problem for Emery and Biden is that Biden did wear the hat backwards.
The photo in question comes from Sen. Amy Klobuchar:
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) January 25, 2024
After going through several tweets where people claim Biden is wearing the hat backwards, Emery writes, “The photo is genuine. And it does look, at first glance, like Biden was wearing that hard hat backwards. But after comparing it to other photos and videos of the same event, we were forced to reach the opposite conclusion: The hat on Biden’s head was facing forward, bill to the front, not backward.”
Emery then shows several more tweets of photos of Biden interacting with a man who was wearing the hat he would eventually wear including the following one from CBS:
President Biden to unveil nearly $5 billion in new infrastructure projects https://t.co/JHC9V9b5Vr
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 25, 2024
Asking many rhetorical questions, Emery urges readers to “Look closely, though. Which direction is the bill of that hat facing? Is the construction worker wearing it forwards or backwards?”
A hard hat is not a baseball hat. In the CBS tweet above, other men can be seen behind Biden will the bills facing forward, but the nape strap is located on the back of their heads just as it is with the man wearing the hat Biden would later don. In the photo, Biden is seen with the nape strap on his forehead.
Making things worse for Emery is that he quotes Cooper Safety Supply’s “Hard Hat FAQ” that plainly says that the nape strap must be “in the rear”:
Q. Can I wear my hard hat backwards? A. This depends on the manufacturer of your hard hat. If the suspension attachment points on your hard hat are the same from front to back, the suspension can be reversed and the cap worn with the brim facing the rear and still meet the requirements of the applicable protective headwear standard. Be sure that the suspension has been reversed so that the nape strap is in the rear [emphasis added]. Many hard hat manufactures now offer swing-style suspensions that allow for you to quickly reverse the direction of your hard hat.
Other safety websites, including OSHA, say the same thing. Snopes acknowledged that the nape strap needs to be at the back of the head, but in order to save Biden from a gaffe, wrote an entire article claiming the bill is what really matters.