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Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden knowledges the crowd during a campaign rally Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP) Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden knowledges the crowd during a campaign rally Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP)

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden knowledges the crowd during a campaign rally Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP)

Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman March 9, 2020

Video shared by Trump omits full context of Biden’s comments

If Your Time is short

  • The video plays a snippet of a Biden speech about the potential for Trump’s re-election.

  • Biden’s full remarks showed that he stumbled in his campaign speech but that he was calling for Democratic Party unity.

  • Trump retweeted the deceptively edited video. Twitter used its new policy to label the video as “manipulated media.”

President Donald Trump shared a deceptively edited video that made it appear former Vice President Joe Biden supported Trump’s re-election.

For the first time, Twitter applied its new policy and labeled the video as "manipulated media," though it could still be viewed on Twitter without the warning label.

On March 7, Dan Scavino, an assistant to Trump and the White House’s director of social media, tweeted a 13-second video of Biden speaking at a campaign event in Missouri:

"Sleepy Joe in St. Louis, Missouri today: ‘We can only re-elect @realDonaldTrump.’"

The video tweet was viewed more than 6 million times and drew retweets from Trump.

"I agree with Joe!" tweeted Trump. He also retweeted the video clip posted by conservative activist Charlie Kirk and a later tweet by Scavino

By cutting what Biden said before and after this clip, the video distorts the meaning of what Biden said.

We contacted the White House and did not get a response. Scavino tweeted March 9 that "the video was NOT manipulated." 

What Biden said in Kansas City

Biden was speaking in Kansas City (not St. Louis, as Scavino said) on March 7 when he made the speech in question. 

Featured Fact-check

Biden clearly stumbled over his words as he spoke during part of the speech. But it’s clear that he wasn’t calling for Trump to get re-elected. (Start at the 13:20 mark for a full minute listen.) Biden’s point was to call on Democrats to unite as a party and avoid attacks on each other to aim to defeat Trump. 

"If you want a nominee who will beat Donald Trump, keep the House of Representatives and elect the Senate, help me out. If you want a nominee who is a Democrat, a lifelong Democrat, a proud Democrat, an Obama-Biden Democrat, join us. If you want a nominee who will bring this   party together, who will run a progressive, positive campaign and turn this primary from a campaign that’s about negative attacks into one about what we are for, because we cannot get re-elect, we cannot win this re-election. Excuse me. We can only re-elect Donald Trump if in fact we get engaged in this circular firing squad here. It's got to be a positive campaign. So join us. Folks, we are building a coalition…"

Speaking in St. Louis earlier in the day, Biden made the same point without stumbling over his words:

"If you want a nominee who will bring the party together, who will run a positive, progressive vision for the future — not turn this primary into a campaign of negative attacks because that will only re-elect Donald Trump if we go that route."

Twitter added the label of "manipulated media" to the Scavino tweet on March 8 under a new policy. The policy applies to synthetic and manipulated media including videos, audio and images.

The "manipulated media" warning beneath the tweet was not showing up in tweet detail, but it is visible in the timeline. Twitter said it was working on a fix.
 

On Facebook, Scavino’s video was labeled "partly false" after it was reviewed by fact-checkers. PolitiFact is also part of the fact-checking partnership with Facebook.

"Fact-checkers rated this video as partly false, so we are reducing its distribution and showing warning labels with more context for people who see it, try to share it, or already have," Facebook said in a statement. "As we announced last year, the same applies if a politician shares the video, if it was otherwise fact-checked when shared by others on Facebook." 

Our ruling

A White House video showed 13 seconds of Biden speaking at a campaign event when he said "we can only re-elect Donald Trump."

Biden did make that statement as he stumbled over his words. But the video snippet omitted what Biden said immediately before and after, which removes his meaning.

Biden’s overall point was to call for Democratic Party unity and to run a positive campaign, rather than intra-party attacks. The video stripped that out.

The video employs deceptive editing via omission. We rate it Mostly False.

Our Sources

Dan Scavino, Tweet, March 7, 2020

Dan Scavino, Tweet, March 9, 2020

Charlie Kirk, Tweet, March 8, 2020

President Donald Trump, Tweet, March 7, 2020

Joe Biden campaign, Speech in Kansas City, March 7, 2020

KCTV5, Joe Biden speech in Kansas City, March 7, 2020

C-SPAN, Joe Biden speech in St. Louis, March 7, 2020

Twitter, Synthetic and manipulated media policy, February 2020

Twitter blog, Building rules in public: Our approach to synthetic & manipulated media, Feb. 4, 2020 

Washington Post, Twitter flags video retweeted by President Trump as ‘manipulated media’ March 8, 2020

New York Times, Manipulated Biden Video Escalates Online Speech War With Trump, March 9, 2020

CNN, Fact check: Trump and his campaign promote dishonestly edited Biden video, March 8, 2020

Washington Post, Deceptive editing, 2020

Lead Stories, Fact Check: Joe Biden Did NOT Endorse Donald Trump In Edited Video, March 8, 2020

Dan Scavino Jr. Facebook post, March 8, 2020

Email interview, Facebook media relations, March 9, 2020

Email interview, Katie Rosborough, twitter spokeswoman, March 8, 2020

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Video shared by Trump omits full context of Biden’s comments

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