Do these photos show Biden with a bruised forehead from falling?

Several posts on social media claimed that US President Joe Biden had a visible bruise on his forehead during his visit to Warsaw, Poland, a day after he made a surprise visit to Ukraine.

The posts, which were in turn used to question his physical and mental health and ability to serve as President came after he tripped and fell while attempting to board Air Force One as he left Poland on Feb. 22, 2023.

While reports of Biden’s fall when boarding Air Force One were in fact true and he has had an unfortunate history of tumbles during his presidency, the mark on Biden’s forehead is not a bruise and has nothing to do with falling.

Instead of a bruise, the forehead marking was a faded cross of ashes to commemorate Ash Wednesday, a Catholic observance that fell on the 22nd of February this year. Rev. Wieslaw Dawidowski, the priest who conducted the mass, posted on Facebook about how he had “the honor to put ashes on the head of the President of the United States himself.” He also shared photographs with Biden and images of Biden’s presidential seal.

Mr Biden, a lifelong Catholic and only the second Catholic president in U.S. history, after John F. Kennedy has been photographed with the cross on Ash Wednesday a number of times in previous years, including last year and as Vice-President in 2009 and 2010.

The claim that photos show Biden with a bruised forehead from falling is thus false. The ‘bruise’ is actually an ash cross, given during Ash Wednesday Mass.

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