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Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Mountain Top Inn & Resort, Oct. 27, 2020, in Warm Springs, Ga. (AP) Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Mountain Top Inn & Resort, Oct. 27, 2020, in Warm Springs, Ga. (AP)

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Mountain Top Inn & Resort, Oct. 27, 2020, in Warm Springs, Ga. (AP)

Miriam Valverde
By Miriam Valverde October 27, 2020

Biden was quoting Pope Francis, not expressing confusion about his campaign

If Your Time is short

At a campaign stop, Biden was quoting something from Pope Francis, not expressing confusion about his own campaign.

A six-second video tweeted by President Donald Trump’s campaign seeks to build on Trump’s narrative that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is not mentally sound to serve as president. The clip is deceptive and leaves out significant context.

The tweet posted Oct. 27 by the account @TrumpWarRoom shows Biden saying, "Why am I doing this? Why? What is my real aim?"

Biden did say those words during a campaign stop in Warm Springs, Ga., on Oct. 27 — but he was quoting something he said Pope Francis said, not expressing confusion about his own campaign.

Biden said that throughout history, there have been "charlatans, the con men, the phony populist, who sought the play on our fears, appeal to our worst appetites, and pick at the oldest scabs we have for their own political gain."

Biden, a practicing Catholic, went on to say that Pope Francis recently said people who want to lead should reflect on their purpose. He was referring to Pope Francis’ Oct. 3 encyclical letter.

Below is what Biden said, in bold is what the Trump campaign featured in its tweet:

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"In a recent encyclical, Pope Francis warns us against this phony populism that appeals to ‘the basest and most selfish instincts.’ He goes on to say, ‘Politics is something more noble than posturing, marketing, and media spin. These sow nothing but division, conflict, and a bleak cynicism.’ He said, for those who seek to lead, we do well to ask ourselves, 'why am I doing this? Why? What is my real aim?’ Pope Francis asked questions that anyone who seeks to lead this great nation should be able to answer. And my answer is this: I run to unite this nation and to heal this nation. I've said that from the beginning. It is badly necessary."

Biden’s recap closely mirrored what Pope Francis said.

Trump and some Fox News pundits, such as Brit Hume, have falsely called Biden "senile." Senility is not a precise medical term, but is often used in place of the more precise and accepted medical term of "dementia." Geriatric experts have told PolitiFact that Biden does not exhibit signs of dementia, which is defined as cognitive decline that is severe enough to cause someone to lose the ability to function independently in daily life.

Our ruling

Trump’s campaign tweeted a video claiming Biden said, "Why am I doing this? Why? What is my real aim?"

The snippet gives the wrong impression of Biden’s remarks. Biden was quoting part of Pope Francis’ Oct. 3 encyclical letter.

We rate it False.

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

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Biden was quoting Pope Francis, not expressing confusion about his campaign

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