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President Donald Trump walks onstage to speak at a campaign rally on Feb. 28, 2020, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP) President Donald Trump walks onstage to speak at a campaign rally on Feb. 28, 2020, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP)

President Donald Trump walks onstage to speak at a campaign rally on Feb. 28, 2020, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP)

Daniel Funke
By Daniel Funke March 15, 2020

Ad Watch: Biden video twists Trump’s words on coronavirus

If Your Time is short

  • The video makes it look like Trump called coronavirus "their new hoax."


  • In fact, there was nearly a full minute between when the president said "coronavirus" and "hoax" during a Feb. 28 rally in North Charleston, S.C.

In a video tweeted March 3, Joe Biden’s campaign made it look like President Donald Trump called the 2019 coronavirus outbreak a "hoax."

"I’ll be damned if I’m going to lose my country to this man at all," Biden says at the start of the ad, which has been viewed more than 336,000 times.

The video cycles through a slew of soundbites from Trump. One clip shows the president’s Feb. 28 rally in North Charleston, S.C.

"Coronavirus — this is their new hoax," Trump is pictured saying.

The video makes it seem like Trump is calling the disease itself a hoax, which he hasn’t done. The words are Trump’s, but the editing is Biden’s.

During the North Charleston rally, there was nearly a minute between when Trump said "coronavirus" and "hoax." Here is the full context of his remarks:

"Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus, you know that right? Coronavirus, they’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs. You say, ‘How’s President Trump doing?’ They go, ‘Oh, not good, not good.’ They have no clue. They don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa. They can’t even count. No, they can’t. They can’t count their votes.

"One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.’ That didn’t work out too well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was not a perfect conversation. They tried anything. They tried it over and over. They’d been doing it since you got in. It’s all turning. They lost. It’s all turning. Think of it. Think of it. And this is their new hoax."

During a press conference Feb. 29, Trump was asked about his remarks.

Featured Fact-check

"I'm not talking about what's happening here; I'm talking what they're doing," he said, referring to Democrats. "That's the hoax."

Trump’s comments feed into a conspiracy theory that claims Democrats and the media are fabricating the threat of COVID-19 to hurt the economy and, by extension, the president’s re-election chances. And the president appeared to downplay the threat of the virus at several points in recent weeks.

But the Biden campaign’s ad is misleading. It’s an example of what the Washington Post calls "splicing," or "editing together disparate videos" that "fundamentally alters the story that is being told."

RELATED: Fact-checking Donald Trump’s mistakes about European travel due to coronavirus

Biden’s ad is the latest example of a deceptively edited ad on the campaign trail.

On March 7, Dan Scavino, the White House social media director, tweeted a video that appears to show Biden saying "we can only re-elect Donald Trump." But the video only showed a snippet of Biden’s larger speech, in which he called for Democratic unity. A similar video tweeted by Michael Bloomberg on Feb. 20 made it look like he left other Democratic presidential candidates speechless during a debate when he didn’t.

When we reached out to the Biden campaign for comment, it told us that Trump is "the most dishonest president in American history."

"We don't trust his next-day clean-up attempt, and he has made many comments in that same vein," said Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, in an email.

Biden’s video is inaccurate. We rate it False.

Our Sources

Emailed statement from Andrew Bates, spokesman for the Biden campaign, March 13, 2020, Press Conference: Donald Trump Delivers an Update on the Coronavirus - February 29, 2020

Politico, "Trump rallies his base to treat coronavirus as a ‘hoax,’" Feb. 28, 2020

PolitiFact, "Bloomberg’s edited video of the Las Vegas Democratic debate, in context," Feb. 20, 2020

PolitiFact, "Rush Limbaugh is spreading a conspiracy theory about the coronavirus and Trump’s re-election," Feb. 27, 2020

PolitiFact, "Video shared by Trump omits full context of Biden’s comments," March 9, 2020

Rev, "Donald Trump Charleston, South Carolina Rally Transcript – February 28, 2020," Feb. 28, 2020

The Washington Post, "The Fact Checker’s guide to manipulated video," accessed March 13, 2020

Tweet from Joe Biden, March 3, 2020

Twitter, Synthetic and manipulated media policy, accessed March 13, 2020

YouTube video from WLTX, Feb. 28, 2020

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Ad Watch: Biden video twists Trump’s words on coronavirus

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