Misleading Online Posts Distort Biden’s Joke at Meeting with Indian Prime Minister

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Quick Take

In a meeting with the Indian prime minister and CEOs of technology companies, President Joe Biden joked about Republican investigations into him and his family. “I sold a lot of state secrets and a lot of very important things,” he joked, and added, “Now, all kidding aside.” But a viral video has been misleadingly edited to omit Biden saying that he was joking.


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President Biden and his family have been under intense scrutiny by House Republicans on the Committee on Oversight and Accountability for business dealings that they claim could “compromise U.S. national security and President Biden’s ability to lead with impartiality.”

Among other things, House Republicans have accused President Biden and his son, Hunter, of accepting a $5 million bribe from a Ukrainian oil and gas company when Joe Biden was vice president and Hunter was on the company’s board. As we have written, that’s an unsubstantiated allegation based on an unverified report.

When asked about the bribery allegation earlier this month, Biden said, “It’s a bunch of malarkey.”

At a June 23 roundtable discussion at the White House with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the CEOs of technology companies, Biden joked about the House Republican investigations. He opened the meeting by saying, “We — I was just thanking the — anyway, I started off without you, and I sold a lot of state secrets and a lot of very important things that we shared. Now, all kidding aside.”

The Republican National Committee’s research team posted a short clip of Biden’s opening remarks on Twitter. However, the edited video doesn’t include Biden saying he is kidding.

The misleading video, which received more than 24,000 likes, was shared by Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Matt Gaetz of Florida, and uploaded to Instagram by Donald Trump Jr., garnering tens of thousands of additional likes.

In her tweet, Greene called for Biden to be impeached, saying, “Joe Biden’s brain is going and he’s literally admitting his crimes out loud.” The congresswoman drafted articles of impeachment in May against Biden, focusing largely on the Biden’s immigration policy.

Facebook and Instagram users further disseminated the misleading claim — some without the video. One Facebook user said, “Biden literally just admitted ON CAMERA that he sold state secrets…LOCK. HIM. UP.” In a comment to that post, a Facebook user said, “Definitely he needs to be impeached and put in jail.”

One Twitter user said, “Hard to tell, but I think he was joking,” in response to RNC Research’s original tweet. Another user responded, “The leader of the free world (I use all of those terms loosely) CANNOT be so careless with his words NO MATTER WHAT! If it’s on purpose, that makes it worse. He is mocking himself and by extension, the US gov’t. This is not OK!”

It is not the first time a misleadingly edited clip has been used to attack Biden.


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. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.

Sources

U.S. House Committee of Oversight and Accountability. “Biden Family Investigation.” Accessed 27 Jun 2023.

Farley, Robert et al. “Republican Claims About Hunter Biden Offenses.” FactCheck.org. 21 Jun 2023.

Biden, Joe. “Remarks by President Biden and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom in Joint Press Conference.” White House. 8 Jun 2023.

Biden, Joe. “Remarks by President Biden and Prime Minister Modi of the Republic of India in Meeting with Senior Officials and CEOs of Technology Companies.” White House. 23 Jun 2023.

RNC Research (@RNCResearch). “BIDEN (last week): “I sold a lot of state secrets and a lot of very important things….” Twitter. 26 Jun 2023.

Greene, Marjorie (@RepMTG). “‘I sold a lot state secrets and a lot of very important things.’ Joe Biden’s brain is going and he’s literally admitting his crimes out loud. Impeach Biden! It’s unreal and so insulting to America.” Twitter. 26 Jun 2023.

Gaetz, Matt (@mattgaetz). “What in the world….” Twitter. 26 Jun 2023.

Trump Jr., Donald (@donaldjtrumpjr). “When they tell you who they are… BELIEVE THEM.” Instagram. 26 Jun 2023.

Jones, Brea. “Social Media Posts Misleadingly Edit and Misrepresent Biden Remarks from Teleprompter.” FactCheck.org. 14 Jul 2022.

Hale Spencer, Saranac. “Viral Biden Video Is Deceptively Edited.” FactCheck.org. 9 Mar 2020.

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