Fact check: Miscaptioned photo of Biden and Whitmer predates updated face-covering guidance

Users on social media are sharing a photograph of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer at a gathering that took place in early March, prior to widespread face-covering recommendations. Posts misleadingly imply that the image was taken recently and that Biden and Whitmer are ignoring face-covering guidance.

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden U.S. Senator Kamala Harris and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer during a campaign stop in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

An iteration of the claim ( here , here ) features a screenshot of the mislabeled photo with the caption: “While OUR children are being mandated to wear a mask while playing outdoor sports these hypocrites are at the Detroit Athletic Club yesterday maskless! When will the sheeple wake up! This is ALL about control and it has to stop”.

Other posts are visible here , here and here

Posts most likely erroneously refer to a recent visit of Joe Biden to Detroit on Sept. 9, ( here ). Footage of Biden wearing a face-mask during this visit is visible here .

The photograph in the claim was posted on Instagram here by Dennis Archer Jr , businessman and son of former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer ( here ), on Sept. 9. The caption reads: “It was good to catch up with dear friend @joebiden and @vdarcher earlier this year (pre Covid) #letsgo #2020”. Archer Jr. later reiterated this on a comment on his post that says: “To be clear this is a pre-Covid shot, in support of the Vice President”.

Dennis Archer Jr did not respond to Reuters request for comment, this fact check will be updated if he does.

Reuters was unable to locate the photograph, but it appears the image was taken at a fundraiser before Biden’s campaign rally on March 9. As reported by The Detroit Free Press here , “Biden attended a $1,000-per-person fundraiser at the Detroit Athletic Club, hosted by some of Michigan’s biggest political names: former Gov. Jim Blanchard, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit businessman Dennis Archer Jr.”

Reuters photographs from the day show Whitmer and Biden’s clothes match the image in the claim ( )

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website archive for March 9 (here ) shows that face-coverings were not recommended for people who were well at the time, but only for those who showed symptoms, health workers and caretakers (here ). As of this check’s publication, the CDC does recommend that people wear masks in public settings ( here ).

Reuters previously debunked a similar claim that intended to discredit the Biden campaign for “not wearing masks” here .


False. Biden and Whitmer in the picture are not breaking face-covering guidance. The photograph is from March 9, 2020.

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