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Yes, award-winning Kenyan teacher met US President Trump

When Peter Tabichi, the 2019 winner of the Global Teacher Prize, met US President Donald Trump at his official residence, the White House, in Washington DC, there were multiple posts on Facebook about the news

Many of the posts were flagged as potentially false by Facebook’s fact-checking system. 

All the flagged posts had a picture put out by the White House, announcing the meeting between the Kenyan teacher and the US president.

Mwalimu Peter Mokaya Tabichi with USA President Donald Trump... What can you say when you see this,” read one post.

Another post was from Kenyan news website Tuko. A post on a Facebook page with over 280,000 followers with the same news was also flagged. 

The Kenyan teacher met Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta in March 2019. But did Tabichi really meet the US president in Washington DC? We checked.

Kabichi met Trump and prayed at US Congress

On 18 September 2019, through Twitter, Tabichi, who is also a Franciscan friar, shared a video where he is seen and heard saying a prayer at the opening of the US Congress.

“Pleased and honored to have served as a guest chaplain in the US Congress,” Tabichi tweeted. “It was a great privilege and honour to open the US congress with the Franciscan prayer for peace at the Capitol, Washington DC. What a great day! God bless us all.”

In another tweet on the same day, Tabichi said that he had met with Trump: “I shared my humble views with the president on the importance of backing science and education in Africa.”

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham announced the meeting: “This morning @realDonaldTrump met with Peter Tabichi, the recipient of the 2019 Global Teacher Prize! Peter is a science teacher who gives away 80% of his monthly income to help the poor in his home country in Kenya.”

Along with the tweet is the photo of Tabichi and Trump shared widely on Facebook.

The Global Teacher Prize also tweeted about the news: “Global Teacher Prize 2019 winner Brother Peter Tabichi delivering the opening prayer to #USCongress. Next stop Silicon Valley, where he will ask the tech giants to support science learning for young people in Africa.” – Grace Gichuhi 


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