Fact check: Video of Joe Biden is an assortment of true and misleading clips

Users on social media are sharing a compilation of videos that allegedly show Joe Biden behaving in a racist or inappropriate manner. The 53 second video contains authentic scenes portraying Joe Biden from 1985 to 2020, but some of the footage has been misleadingly cropped or edited, with some remarks taken out of context.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

The video has been shared multiple times on Facebook ( here , here ) and Instagram ( here , here ).

The videos were originally posted as separate clips on TikTok by user @magacuddy ( ). Cuddy then posted the video compilation on his Instagram account ( here ).

00:00 – 00:04 Racist comments toward a Black mayor - False, missing context

This clip has been misleadingly cropped to appear like Biden’s comments reflect his own opinions. The full footage is visible here ( ,exact moment at 17:14). Biden is reading a confidential staff memorandum at William Reynolds’ nomination for becoming Associate Attorney General on June 5, 1985 (see memo on page 440, ). He quotes the words allegedly used by a white legislator who opposed to the Louisiana redistricting plan in 1981.

During the two-day hearing, Biden often referred to the Louisiana redistricting case, which was criticized for being biased against Blacks, to argue against Reynolds’s nomination ( here ).

Biden mentioned this quote at least twice during the hearing ( ), with the intent to show that Reynolds, then U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights (AAG-CR), dismissed “clear evidence of intent to discriminate against black folks.” ( ,minute 18:15)

00:06 - 00:09 “Poor kids are just as bright and talented as white kids” - True

This clip shows Joe Biden during a town hall in Iowa organized by the Asian & Latino Coalition on August 8, 2019. Biden was speaking about education and the need to challenge students equally in the U.S.

The full footage ( here ) shows that after this remark, Biden quickly continued to add “wealthy kids, Black kids, Asian kids” to his sentence.

Biden’s full quote reads: “We should challenge these students. We should challenge students in these schools to have advanced placement programs in these schools. We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor, you cannot do it. Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids — wealthy kids, Black kids, Asian kids. No, I really mean, but think how think about it.”

After the gaffe received widespread criticism, a spokesperson for Biden said he “misspoke and immediately corrected himself” and that he was defending that “all children deserve a fair shot” ( here ).

00:09- 00:14 “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black” - True

On May 21, 2020, Joe Biden said, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black” to The Breakfast Club co-host Charlamagne tha God in a broadcast interview.

The moment ( ) captures Biden replying to Charlamagne, who had said he had more questions for Biden ahead of the election ( ). Biden then said: “You’ve got more questions? Well, I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”

Biden apologized soon after during a call with the U.S. Black Chambers Inc, an African-American business group. “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Biden said, “I shouldn’t have been so cavalier.” here .

00:14 – 00:23 “You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking” – Misleading

This clip features Biden at a fundraiser in June 2006. Longer footage shows that Biden made this remark after shaking hands with a man and talking about his support from the Indian-American community ( , minute 10:18)

The full quote reads: “I’ve had a great relationship. In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian-Americans moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.” Biden continued to say the “30% of the CEOs in Silicon Valley are Indian-American”.

On the matter, a spokesperson told NBC that Biden was pointing out “that there has been a vibrant Indian-American community in Delaware for decades.” ( here )

00:24 – 00:34 (When asked about support for gay marriage) “No. Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that” – Misleading

While this clip is authentic, the video lacks context. Biden made this remark during a Vice Presidential Debate with Sarah Palin on October 2, 2008 ( here ). At the time, Biden and Obama did not support civil marriages for same-sex couples, but they did support “civil unions”, a marriage-like relationship( here ) that would provide same-sex couples with the benefits available for opposite-sex marriages ( here ).

Wider footage from the exchange shows that, after being asked if he supported gay marriage, Biden responded: “No. Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that. That is basically the decision to be able to be left to the faiths and people who practice their faiths to determination what you call it.” ( )

Prior to this question, Biden noted that he “absolutely positively” supported granting the same constitutional benefits to “committed same-sex couples”, such as visitation rights in the hospitals, joint ownership of property, and life insurance policies. He continued: “Look, in an Obama-Biden administration, there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple.”

His answer in this debate is confusing, rejecting redefining marriage on a constitutional level or civil level, but in the same clip asserting there should be no constitutional distinction for same sex couples. Reports from the time confirm that Biden did not support civil same-sex marriage ( here ).

Biden’s views on LGBTQ rights have evolved over the last decade ( here ). He has come under scrutiny on his past record on some LGBTQ issues ( here , here ).

Over time, Biden changed his position and later publicly endorsed same-sex marriage during a television interview here . Barack Obama - who had walked a fine, politically sensitive line in supporting gay rights but not gay marriage - also decided in 2012 to support same-sex marriage ( here ).

Biden has been criticized for signing the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 (which defined marriage as between a man and a woman) and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in 1993 (which had barred gay people from serving openly in the U.S. military). Both were ended during the Obama-Biden administrations.

00:35- 00:53 Kelly Ayotte’s daughter - Cropped and edited footage

The clip has been cropped and edited from a video visible here ( ).

The full footage of the scene ( ) shows Joe Biden with Kelly Ayotte, former Republican Senator, at the ceremonial swearing-in with Senators in 2011 ( ). Ayotte is accompanied by her husband Joseph Daley, their daughter and their infant son ( here ). The clip in the claim has been partially muted. In the original audio, Biden is also heard saying to Ayotte’s daughter, “are you bored yet?” and mentioning his own granddaughter.


Misleading. This video contains a mixture of true footage and clips that are edited or taken out of context.

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