Why the White House Built a Fake Oval Office for Joe Biden

President Joe Biden was photographed receiving a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot recently with a televised event that was shot in front of a backdrop, styled to look like the White House interior.

The set features fake windows that display a digital view of the White House Rose Garden.

Then on Wednesday, the president held another event, a virtual gathering with business leaders, in front of the same digital window displays.

These events did not take place in the White House itself, but in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building which is part of the White House complex.

The set prompted mockery and outrage from Biden critics who took to social media to complain about the creation of the fake set.

Alt-right activist Jack Posobiec tweeted: "They gave Joe Biden a playschool desk and a fake Oval Office in a fake White House."

While conservative YouTuber Dave Rubin asked: "Fake President sitting in fake oval office with fake flowers in fake window says what?"

Turning Point USA's Executive Director Charlie Kirk suggested that the use of the South Court Auditorium was dishonest, tweeting: "Nothing is real with these people, it's all smoke and mirrors. But we're supposed to entrust them with all of our personal health decisions?"

But there is a logical explanation as to why the White House has decided to construct a set version of the Oval Office.

Nothing is real with these people, it’s all smoke and mirrors. But we’re supposed to entrust them with all of our personal health decisions? pic.twitter.com/9N5FPYm7pI

— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) September 29, 2021

Why was a fake Oval Office built?

The event space is being used for White House events that are being broadcast. The area is bigger than the actual Oval Office, and provides an area for journalists.

Martha Kumar, director of the White House Transition Project explained that this room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building is being used more regularly due to it being more accessible.

Previously, the room known as Room 450 was used for such media events.

"You have to slug your way up flights of stairs because the small elevators would hold only a limited number of people," Kimar explained to the Washington Examiner.

"That means you often had to walk. White House staff, as well as presidents, would have to make their way there, too, though they had the luxury of an elevator. With its easy access, the South Court site was welcomed by all."

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden delivers remarks while hosting a hybrid meeting with corporate chief executives and members of his cabinet to discuss the looming federal debt limit in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on October 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Each of the meeting participants, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, spoke in dire terms about the negative national and global economic reaction to Congress failing to raise the limit and the U.S. defaulting on its debt. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

While former White House events director Josh King explained that the use of the new area is down to "PoliOptics."

"Every week in Washington has an element of theater and stagecraft, one side or another working to take full advantage of visual storytelling," King told the newspaper.

"Presidents can fly on Air Force One across the country—or even around the world—for a photo worthy to print on the top of the fold of U.S. newspapers."

King said that the South Court Auditorium is usually a "generic, stadium-style meeting room with four or five rows of seats; space in the back of the room for cameras sitting on tripods; a small buffer area in front of the stage for still photographers to capture the key moment; and handy backstage doors for easy ingress and egress by the principals."

Both Donald Trump and Barack Obama used the same auditorium for policy announcements but the Biden/Harris administration seems to be making more use of the space.

Newsweek has reached out to the White House for comment.