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Fact check: Biden kneeling to speak to a child, not because of American flag

Claims on social media state that former Vice President Joe Biden was pictured kneeling in Pennsylvania in front of the U.S. flag. One post with over 3,000 shares is accompanied by the caption, “And he wants to be President of this great Country? If he will bend a knee to our flag for the mob, what will he also bend for with foreign envisions and other Countries? Wow! Never vote for someone this weak!” This claim is false. Biden was not kneeling for the flag but rather to speak to a young child.

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden waves goodbye after talking to a young local child while surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents and news media as he visits the neighborhood where he grew up while campaigning in Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S., July 9, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

Examples of the post can be seen here , here and here .

The posts imply that Biden kneeling in front of the flag is unpatriotic, drawing similarities with former NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem at football games to protest against racial injustice. Kaepernick’s critics, including President Trump, have accused him of being unpatriotic ( here ).

The photograph of Biden was taken by AP’s Matt Slocum on, July 9, 2020, visible here . The photograph’s caption reads, “Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden kneels to talk with a child during a visit to Biden's childhood home in Scranton, Pa.”

A Reuters photograph by Tom Brenner from the same scene shows Biden waving goodbye to a child during this visit here . The photograph’s caption reads, “Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden waves goodbye after talking to a young local child while surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents and news media as he visits the neighborhood where he grew up while campaigning in Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S., July 9, 2020.”

Brenner, having been on the scene, confirmed that Biden indeed took a knee “to be at level with a child who was standing across the roadway.” Video footage from the scene also shows Biden kneeling to speak with a child (  here  ).

VERDICT

Partly false. While Joe Biden is photographed kneeling at his childhood home in Scranton, Pennsylvania, he did so to speak to a child.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts  here  . 

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