Not Real News

President Joe Biden gets into a presidential limousine with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, left, as he arrives at the Felipe Angeles international airport in Zumpango, Mexico, Jan. 8. On Friday, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly claiming when the Mexican President rode in the U.S. presidential limousine sometimes referred to as “the beast,” it marked the first time a foreign leader traveled in the vehicle with a U.S. president.

CLAIM: When Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador rode in the U.S. presidential limousine sometimes referred to as “the beast,” it marked the first time a foreign leader traveled in the vehicle with a U.S. president.

THE FACTS: Several world leaders have traveled in the U.S. presidential Cadillac, including former Mexican President Vincente Fox, French President Emmanuel Macron, the late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

President Joe Biden’s visit to Mexico this week for a summit of North American leaders began with a ride in his heavily armored presidential limousine sometimes referred to as “the beast.” Biden and López Obrador rode together in the vehicle, chatting while driving into Mexico City, the AP reported. Social media users responded to news reports of the drive with false claims that it was “unprecedented” or abnormal for a foreign president to travel in the presidential limousine.

“It’s the first time that a foreign leader travels on board with a U.S President,” one Twitter user wrote. “President Biden and past US presidents travel the world and are met by host leaders, but the protocol is that POTUS always rides alone or with family/staff in the Beast,” wrote another.

But news reports over the years confirm several foreign leaders have shared the vehicle with U.S. presidents. In 2017, then-President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Macron rode together in “the beast” to the presidential palace in Paris, the AP reported. Also in 2017, photos from AP and other news agencies show that Abe rode in the presidential limousine with Trump during a visit to a Florida golf resort. Former President Barack Obama also shared the vehicle with Medvedev in 2010.

In response to an AP request for comment, the Secret Service said that ”due to the need to maintain operational security, the U.S. Secret Service does not comment on the means, methods or resources used to conduct our protective operations.”

— Associated Press writer León Ramírez in Mexico City contributed to this report with additional reporting from Ali Swenson in New York.