Last week, I wrote a piece called ‘Inappropriate’ Images of Biden With Kids Are Deceptive and Defamatory in which I showed that three of the most common pictures used to support the narrative that Joe Biden is a pedophile were fabricated or out of context. Some of the images showed Biden comforting his grieving grandchildren, while others didn’t show Biden at all and instead depicted other men from misleading angles.
Although I chose the pictures at random, the most common complaint was that there are still plenty of examples out there that hadn’t been debunked. Detractors thought that, perhaps, I cherry-picked a few red herrings to misconstrue the true narrative. But that makes me wonder: if there are so many examples of Biden being creepy or inappropriate with kids, why would anyone need to make some up or present them without their context?
So, I decided to follow my own advice in my new book about fighting fake news, and pick a few more of the examples commonly cited by the Biden-is-a-pedophile crowd to do a little research. To ensure that they were completely random, and that others can duplicate my results, I merely Googled the words “Joe Biden pedophile” and chose the first three results to analyze.
The first example that arose when I followed that algorithm was this one, depicting then-Vice President Joseph Biden at Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s swearing in ceremony in 2015. In this GIF from the clip, you can see Biden whispering in the ear of Carter’s wife, Stephanie Carter. The most notable thing about this image is that it was retweeted by Donald Trump himself, along with the hashtag #PedoBiden, despite the fact that Stephanie Carter is a full-grown adult woman.
— ��Conservative Girl�� (@ConservUSA38) September 15, 2020
In my earlier story, I looked into the incident involving Sen. Chris Coons‘ daughter, Maggie Coons. Like Stephanie Carter, Biden whispered in her ear. Maggie then came out repeatedly in interviews stating that nothing Biden did was creepy. Stephanie Carter has actually done the same. So, once again, this is a case in which the individual involved, this time Stephanie Carter, has given her side of the story, and shown that she didn’t feel that he was being creepy with her. Specifically, she wrote an essay adamantly disavowing any attempt to portray the interaction as inappropriate:
“The Joe Biden in my picture is a close friend helping someone get through a big day, for which I will always be grateful. So, as the sole owner of my story, it is high time that I reclaim it — from strangers, Twitter, the pundits and the late-night hosts,” she wrote on Medium last year.
The second picture I found in my search on Google also repeats a similar pattern that we saw in my earlier debunking post. In that case, Biden was comforting his grandson Hunter at the funeral for Beau Biden, Hunter’s father and Joe’s son. In this commonly cited image, we also see Joe Biden with his grandson Hunter, only this time the photo was taken after taking the oath of office during his official swearing-in ceremony.
— In_God_We_Trust (@TeePal2) February 9, 2020
I tracked down the original, and of course this is not a “random” child. Like I said, it’s his grandson.
The third example has been posted to various far-right fringe sites with a caption claiming that the “photo will become almost impossible to find over the next couple of months.”
Nobody who has posted this one has stated explicitly what is wrong about it, and perhaps that’s because, once again, it is harmless. In fact, this is not some strange girl, as the posters seem to imply; it’s his daughter! According to the Associated Press image file, this depicts six-year-old Ashley getting a “taste of campaigning” with her dad in 1987. Here’s the original:
Once again, here we have three completely normal pictures of a politician and close friends or family that have been distorted and removed from their context in order to portray a false narrative that Biden is somehow inappropriate with kids. In reality, there has never been a single complaint of that sort against him, and the subjects of these photos have universally rejected the claim that he was somehow creepy.
With my previous post, that now means I have debunked six of the pictures most commonly used to attack Biden’s interactions with kids. If you have previously shared accusations like this against him, I hope you’ll reconsider in the future, or at least research it for yourself!
This fact-check article is inspired by The Curious Person’s Guide to Fighting Fake News. Thank you all for the support!