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Politifact FL: A front-row seat at Trump’s rally wasn't for Dolphins player — it was for Barron

Barron Trump gestures after his father, former President Donald Trump, introduced him during a campaign rally July 9, 2024, at Trump National Doral Miami Golf Club.
AP
Barron Trump gestures after his father, former President Donald Trump, introduced him during a campaign rally July 9, 2024, at Trump National Doral Miami Golf Club.

WLRN has partnered with PolitiFact to fact-check Florida politicians. The Pulitzer Prize-winning team seeks to present the true facts, unaffected by agenda or biases.

Is Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa a Donald Trump fan?

That’s what some social media users wondered when a photo circulated online of a seat reserved for Tagovailoa at a July 9 rally at the former president’s Doral Golf Club in Miami.

"Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa will be sitting front row tonight in Doral for the Trump speech," said sticker text on a July 9 TikTok video. The video shared a photo of Tagovailoa atop another image of reserved seats for a Trump rally. It showed a seat for Tagovailoa next to Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s sons.

Other social media users posted about Tagovailoa or shared the image of the reserved seat, including conservative commentator and Outkick founder Clay Travis, who shared it with his 1.2 million X followers, adding in another post, "I think you are about to see a tidal wave of pro athletes for Trump." (Outkick is a sports and political commentary website.)

READ MORE: What would happen if Joe Biden or Donald Trump leaves his party’s ticket?

TikTok identified this video as part of its efforts to counter inauthentic, misleading or false content. (Read more about PolitiFact’s partnership with TikTok.)

We don’t know whom Tagovailoa is supporting for president, but we do know the photo of his reserved front-row seat for Trump’s rally is altered.

(TikTok screenshot)

The original photo, shared on X by Daily Caller reporter Henry Rodgers, shows the seat next to Eric and Donald Jr. was reserved for their 18-year-old brother, Barron Trump.

The altered image appears to have been created by an X user and Dolphins fan who shared it and wrote, "Crazy, Tua has a front row seat to the Miami Trump rally."

That X post was tagged with a community note linking to Rodgers’ post. Rodgers also replied to the post, linking to his original photo. One user told the poster of the fake photo that he had "been duped," to which he replied, "Lady, I made it."

Travis later acknowledged in a followup X postthat he had been duped by the photo, writing, "My bad."

We could find no evidence that Tagovailoa attended the rally after searching his social media accounts, news stories and a video of the rally. But Barron was there, getting a shoutout from his father and a standing ovation from the crowd.

"Welcome to the scene, Barron," Trump said.

Trump made no mention of Tagovailoa in his speech.

Brendan Gutenschwager, an independent journalist, shared a video of the moment on X when Donald Trump introduced Barron, who stood from his front-row seat to acknowledge the crowd.

Donald Trump shared photos of Barron waving to the crowd in a July 10 Truth Social post. Donald Trump Jr. shared an Instagram video that shows Barron in the front row.

A TikTok claim shared a photo claiming to be a front-row seat reserved for Tagovailoa at Trump’s Miami rally on July 9.  But the image was altered, so the claim is False.

Our Sources

Jeff Cercone is a staff writer for PolitiFact.