Facts are under assault in 2020.

We can't fight back misinformation about the election and COVID-19 without you. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact

More Info

I would like to contribute

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke September 25, 2020

No, Biden didn’t say his people would commit violence if he loses the election

If Your Time is short

  • In a campaign speech on Aug. 31, Biden condemned Donald Trump’s handling of racial justice demonstrations in the United States, saying the president only added fuel to the fire. He didn’t say “his people” would burn, loot and kill if he loses.
  • He denounced looting, arson and violence.
 

In late August, social media posts shared the inaccurate claim that Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris said she wants riots to continue even after the presidential election. A few days later, a similar allegation was leveled at her running mate, presidential candidate Joe Biden. 

"Biden said today, if he loses, his people will keep burning, looting and killing," an Aug. 31 Facebook post says. "He said it." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

He did not say this. On Aug. 31, Biden was in Pittsburgh, where he gave a campaign speech on public safety and law enforcement. You can watch the video on C-SPAN, which said that Biden "condemned the rioting and looting taking place around the country and blamed President Trump for the increase in violence." 

We watched the speech — you can also read the transcript here — and Biden didn’t threaten that if he loses, "his people" will continue to burn, loot and kill. 

Rather, he commented on "the senseless violence of looting and burning." Here’s what else he said on the subject: 

Featured Fact-check

  • "I want to make absolutely clear, so I am going to be very clear about all of this. Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted. Violence will not bring change, it will only bring destruction. It’s wrong in every way."

  • "Fires are burning, and we have a president who fans the flames rather than fighting the flames. We must not burn, we have to build. This president, long ago, forfeited any moral leadership in this country. He can’t stop the violence because for years he fomented it. … Does anyone believe there’ll be less violence in America if Donald Trump is re-elected?"

  • "I want a safe America, safe from COVID, safe from crime and looting, safe from racially motivated violence, safe from bad cops. Let me be crystal clear — safe from four more years of Donald Trump. I look at this violence because I see lives and communities and dreams of small businesses being destroyed and the opportunity for real progress on issues of race and police reform and justice being put to the test. Donald Trump looks at this violence and he sees a political lifeline. Having failed to protect this nation from the virus that has killed more than 180,000 Americans so far, Trump posts an all-caps tweet, screaming ‘LAW AND ORDER,’ to save his campaign."

Biden accused Trump of mishandling the demonstrations that have roiled the country, saying that the president "adds fuel to every fire because he refuses to even acknowledge that there’s a racial justice problem in America."

He also contrasted how he would lead as a president. 

He never said "his people will keep burning, looting and killing" if he loses the election. 

We rate this post False.

 

Our Sources

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Ciara O'Rourke

No, Biden didn’t say his people would commit violence if he loses the election

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up