The claim: Rep. Lauren Boebert said, ‘The Chinese spy balloon was 60k feet high, which is only about one mile’
A Feb. 5 Facebook post (direct link, archive link) claimed a Republican congresswoman from Colorado bungled the math in a remark about the Chinese surveillance balloon that flew across the U.S. for several days.
“Lauren Boebert: ‘The Chinese spy balloon was 60k feet high, which is only about one mile,’” reads the post. “Yes, it took her 4 times to pass GED.”
The post was shared more than 300 times in five days.
Our rating: False
There is no evidence the congresswoman made any such remark, and her spokesperson said the claim is false. It originated on a satirical Twitter account.
Congresswoman’s representative says claim is ‘baseless lie’
Benjamin Stout, Boebert’s spokesman, said the claim was a “baseless lie.”
The balloon was flying at more than 60,000 feet in the air as it crossed South Carolina on the morning of Feb. 4, according to a tweet by the York County Sheriff’s Office.
That altitude is slightly more than 11 miles. The balloon was ultimately shot down over the Atlantic Ocean that afternoon at an altitude of just over 12 miles, as reported by USA TODAY.
The post also claims it took Boebert four attempts to receive her GED, or General Educational Development test, but there is similarly no evidence to support this claim. Boebert told The Durango Herald, a newspaper in her home state, that she received a GED after completing a four-course review.
USA TODAY has previously debunked false claims about Boebert, including that the congresswoman has a net worth of more than $12 million, that she disclosed former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s location during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and that her Colorado restaurant received a Paycheck Protection Program loan during the pandemic.
USA TODAY reached out to users who shared the claim for comment.
Our fact-check sources:
Lauren Boebert, accessed Feb. 9, Personal Twitter account
Lauren Boebert, accessed Feb. 9, Official Twitter account
Lauren Boebert, accessed Feb. 9, Facebook account
Benjamin Stout, Feb. 9, Email exchange with USA TODAY
York County Sheriff’s Office, Feb. 4, Tweet
The Durango Herald, Sept. 15, 2020, Lauren Boebert discusses, defends her backstory during Durango visit
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Quote about Chinese spy balloon misattributed to Boebert