Richard Grenell, the Trump administration’s former acting director of national intelligence, is now president of the United States… at least according to some Google searches.
Multiple results listed Grenell as the US president on Saturday, claiming he had taken over the position from President Joe Biden “since 2021.”
Searches for ‘President of the United States’ also returned Grenell’s name alongside Biden’s.
The false information appeared to come directly from Wikipedia, which is automatically used by Google in searches where it is then often stated as fact.
Americans mocked the mistake on social media and Grenell himself also weighed in, jokingly issuing a series of ‘Executive Orders’ and referencing Biden’s accident on the stairs to Air Force One this week.
Grenell had a number of roles in the Trump administration, including a brief stint as acting director of national intelligence and as ambassador to Germany between 2018 and 2020. Grenell, who also previously worked in the George W. Bush administration, gained a reputation as a hawk in favor of US action against China, Iran, Syria, and other countries.
Google has previously faced backlash for listing false information taken from Wikipedia in search results, including in 2018 when it listed ‘Nazism’ as the ideology of the California Republican Party.
The incident drew condemnation from then-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Google apologized, blaming the misinformation on Wikipedia. Despite this, Google has not since changed its system to prevent such cases, as is evident from the latest blunder.