Fact check: Joe Biden did not kneel during the National Anthem in Miami

Shared thousands of times on Facebook, posts claim to show an image of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden kneeling during the U.S. National Anthem during an event in Miami, Florida. Framing Biden as unpatriotic for protesting what the anthem stands for, the photo is miscaptioned.

Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop at Little Haiti Cultural Complex in Miami, Florida, U.S., October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Examples of posts making this claim can be found here , here , and here .

Other posts sharing the photo ( here ) claim to show Biden “kneeling to foreign leaders.” This claim is also false.

The image shows the former vice president kneeling as his wife Jill Biden stands next to him. In the background there are five women and one young girl in Caribbean quadrille dresses. The original photo,  here provided by the Miami Herald and Tribune News Service via Getty Images, was taken after an Oct. 5 campaign speech ( here ) at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami.

According to the caption, “After addressing the invited group, which was kept small due to COVID-19, he and his wife, Jill Biden, posed for photos with members of the Nancy St. Leger Danse Ensemble, which performed during the visit.”

In response to social media posts miscaptioning the image of Biden, the Miami Herald, whose photographer Jacqueline Charles took the photo being used, wrote a fact check article on Oct. 11 here . According to Charles, Biden agreed to take a group photo with the dance troupe toward the end of the event. She said that when she took the photo Biden “had just finished addressing the group when at the end of the event someone asked for a photo. There was no national anthem playing in the background.”

Charles clarified that it was “a socially distanced photo,” explaining that “most people kneel so that everyone can be seen in the photo. Before COVID, everyone would have just stood in a tight space. But that couldn’t be done, so he kneeled as the dancers stood in the back.” She said that she did not ask Biden why he chose to kneel for the photo.

Associated Press photographer Andrew Harnik also captured the moment of Biden kneeling, here. Having traveled with Biden throughout that day, Harnik confirmed to Reuters via email that “at no point while I was with him was the National Anthem ever played” and that “Biden will often take a knee for group photos.”

There was no suggestion on the posts or from the photographers present that Biden was taking a knee as an anti-racist gesture as has become popular during Black Lives Matter protests.

The Reuters Fact Check team previously debunked social media posts falsely claiming to show Biden kneeling in front of the U.S. flag. The former vice president was not kneeling for the flag but rather to speak to a young child ( here ).


False. The image shows Biden posing for a socially distanced photo with a Haitian dance troupe during a campaign event in Miami. The National Anthem was not playing as the photo was taken.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .