Video of New York politician being hit by water balloon misidentified as Mike Pence

By: Vivek J
July 20 2023

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Video of New York politician being hit by water balloon misidentified as Mike Pence


The Verdict False

The person in the video is a local New York politician who was hit by a water balloon during a celebration on July 4, 2023. It was not Mike Pence.

Claim ID a1ebbf1d


Former U.S. vice president Mike Pence announced that he is running for President in 2024. Amid this, a video clip has gone viral on social media claiming that a girl threw a water balloon at Pence. The video clip shows a girl throwing a water balloon that hits a man with white hair. However, his face is not visible. Social media users have shared this clip, claiming the man is Pence. Some of these posts have garnered millions of views on Twitter.

This video is being shared with several narratives online, such as "BREAKING: After telling Tucker he doesn't care about struggling American cities, Mike Pence is hit by kids throwing water balloons…" and "Mike Pence getting smacked in the head with a water balloon." These videos can be seen on multiple social media platforms and the archives of some of these posts can be accessed here and here

However, the person in the viral video is not Mike Pence.

In Fact

On researching the video clip, we found dozens of similar videos with the same claim, including a YouTube Short titled "Girl with rocket arm at Nassau July 4th parade," containing the same visuals. This video claims the man being hit with the balloon is a Nassau County Politician. Nassau County is located in Long Island, New York. This YouTube short also featured a tweet that read, "The @mets and @Yankees could certainly use her."

We also found a Tweet by Bruce Blakeman on July 13, 2023, whose Twitter bio states, "The Official Twitter Account of Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman." He posted the same video to Facebook that day. In the comment section, he pinned another message and a link to a CBS New York article: "The water balloons and the soaker guns are a long tradition at the Stewart Manor parade. Please do not feel offended. All those who march including me, do so at their peril and are fair game. I had fun even if I got a little wet!" Taking cues from the CBS New York article, we geolocated the location to Covert Avenue in Long Island, New York.

The CBS New York article, dated July 4, 2023, confirms that the water balloon event occurred during the "Stewart Manor's 4th of July parade" and started at around 10.30 a.m. Around the same time, Pence was attending the 4th of July Parade in Urbandale, Iowa. News reports confirm the same, and Pence shared images of himself from the parade in Urbandale on the same day on his official Instagram account.

Claims of Pence being hit by a water balloon due to comments he made on struggling American cities have continued in recent days, along with the same viral video. However, the alleged comments were made on July 14, 2023, during the 2023 Family Leadership Summit held in Iowa, ten days after the water balloon celebrations on July 4, 2023. A C-Span video shows Pence making the comments at the 24:25 minute mark. 

The Verdict

The man hit by a water balloon in the viral video is Bruce Blakeman, a Nassau County Executive from Long Island, New York, not Mike Pence. This video does not feature Mike Pence, who was attending a similar July 4 event in Urbandale, Iowa, around the same time. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before