Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke January 25, 2021

Photos show Biden with a Secret Service agent, not a ‘Chinese handler’

If Your Time is short

  • Photos of an Asian American man with Joe Biden on Inauguration Day show David Cho, a Secret Service agent of Korean descent. 
  • Cho has been tapped to lead Biden’s presidential security detail, according to news reports. He was second-in-command of the president’s detail during the Trump administration and received a gold medal for exceptional service in 2019.

Several photos from inauguration day show President Joe Biden with Secret Service agent David Cho, a Korean American tapped to lead the president’s security detail

Some social media posts sharing these photos have wrongly described Cho as "Biden’s Chinese handler."

"This Chinese ‘handler’ has been following Biden around all day," one post said. "Literally right next to him everywhere he goes." 

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

Cho is identified as a Secret Service agent in the caption of this Associated Press photo showing him Biden and first lady Jill Biden walking to the White House.

Featured Fact-check

He’s known as a "perfectionist supervisor," according to the Washington Post, and he was second-in-command of the presidential detail during the Trump administration. 

In 2019, the homeland security secretary awarded Cho a gold medal for exceptional service for his role arranging the security for then-President Donald Trump’s historic visit to North Korea.

Cho was recognized for "tireless and direct participation in high-level negotiations with the leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea," including planning all security details for Trump’s trip to that country, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

We rate claims that Cho is a "Chinese handler" Pants on Fire. 


Our Sources

Facebook post, Jan. 21, 2021

Facebook post, Jan. 21, 2021

Facebook post, Jan. 21, 2021

NBC News, Why Koreans pointed out two ‘Joes’ at inauguration, Jan. 21, 2021

The Washington Post, Secret Service to make change to presidential detail to bring on agents who worked with Biden, Dec. 30, 2020

Department of Homeland Security, The secretary’s exceptional service gold medal 2019, 2019

Fox News, Secret Service adds former Biden agents to his new protection detail after worry over pro-Trump personnel, Dec. 31, 2021

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Ciara O'Rourke

Photos show Biden with a Secret Service agent, not a ‘Chinese handler’

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