Biden Was Looking a TV Screen, Not a Teleprompter

By Saranac Hale Spencer

Posted on September 24, 2020

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Quick Take

A clip from a television interview with former Vice President Joe Biden is circulating online with the false claim that he is reading from a teleprompter. Actually, Biden was looking at a screen showing a viewer’s question before he looks at the interviewer in the room with him.

Full Story

A bogus claim that Joe Biden, Democratic nominee for president, was reading off of a teleprompter during a recent television interview has been viewed widely online.

It got a boost when the president’s second son, Eric Trump, shared it on Twitter, along with a clip from the interview with José Díaz-Balart on Noticias Telemundo. The claim is written in large text above the clip, saying: “Biden caught red-handed using a teleprompter.”

President Donald Trump later retweeted the claim.

But it’s clear from the full interview that Biden wasn’t looking at a teleprompter. He was looking at a screen showing a Telemundo viewer asking about deportation policy during the Obama administration. Biden began to answer her question while facing the screen.

Díaz-Balart then interjected, clarifying that Biden had pledged to halt deportations during his first 100 days in office. Biden responded, saying, “freeze deportations for the first 100 days and then — and only people who will be deported are people who committed a felony while here.”

Biden then appears to look back toward the screen, saying, “OK, I lost that lady,” in reference to the viewer who had asked the initial question.

The viral post has misquoted that phrase, claiming in text below the video clip that Biden said, “OK, I lost that line.”

It’s hard to hear that part of the video, but Díaz-Balart explained what happened to Politico. He said, “In one moment the monitor went to black,” and Biden said, “‘I lost the lady.’”

“I told him he could answer looking at me,” Díaz-Balart told Politico, “and that was that.”

Indeed, in the video, Díaz-Balart follows Biden’s remark, saying, “Yeah, well, but that’s good, because we can talk, you and I, on that.”

The video below shows that part of the broadcast:

This falsehood feeds into Trump’s frequently repeated criticism that Biden uses teleprompters, but it’s worth noting that Trump has had his own issues with them over the years. In 2019, for example, he told an Independence Day crowd that “Our Army… took over the airports” during the Revolutionary War, a flub that he later blamed on the teleprompter going “kaput.”

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.

This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here for more.

Sources

Trump, Eric (@EricTrump). “Unreal!” Twitter. 23 Sep 2020.

Noticias Telemundo. “Biden promete detener las deportaciones durante primeros 100 días de gobierno.” YouTube. 16 Sep 2020.

Forgey, Quint. “Telemundo anchor rebuts misleading tweet posted by Eric Trump.” Politico. 23 Sep 2020.

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