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Viral Post Twists Biden’s Words About VP Nominee


Quick Take

A viral social media post wrongly states that former Vice President Joe Biden told donors “he will not be president for very long” if elected. Biden merely said that he would seek an experienced vice presidential running mate who would be prepared to step into the presidency “if something happened.” 


Full Story

A viral post being shared on Facebook misconstrues comments made by former Vice President Joe Biden during a fundraising call with Georgia donors. 

The post, which originated on a pro-Bernie Sanders Twitter account, misleadingly says Biden hinted to donors that he may not be able to carry out his presidential term due to poor health.

The post reads: “BREAKING: Biden signaled to his donors today he will not be president for very long… Today he told Georgia donors his VP nominee would have to be prepared to immediately step into the top job.” 

The post included an image of — but not a link to — an NBC news article on Biden’s fundraising call to 70 Georgia donors on March 22. During the call, Biden recounted a recent conversation with former President Barack Obama about choosing a vice presidential nominee.

“The most important thing — and I’ve actually talked to Barack about this — the most important thing is that there has to be someone who, the day after they’re picked, is prepared to be president of the United States of America if something happened,” Biden told the donors.

But he never said that he “will not be president for very long” if he is elected, as the viral post claims.

According to the NBC story, Biden told the audience at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire last month, “I have to pick someone if, God forbid, tomorrow, if I contracted what my son had or something like that, that the person is ready on day one to be president of the United States.” Biden was referencing his late son Beau Biden, who died from brain cancer in 2015. 

Biden would be 78 years old on inauguration day in January 2021 — the oldest person to become president.

In December, Biden’s campaign released a report from his primary care physician detailing his medical history and current health conditions, which include an irregular heartbeat and high cholesterol. The report concludes that Biden is a “healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.”

At the Democratic presidential debate on March 15, Biden committed to selecting a woman as his running mate, but has not revealed a choice yet. He has mentioned a host of experienced potential nominees, including Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Although Biden emphasized his desire to pick an experienced vice president who could immediately step into the position of president if necessary, he did not say that he would be unable to carry out his term if elected.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.

Sources

Harris, Richard. “Joe Biden Is ‘Healthy’ And ‘Vigorous,’ According To Doctor’s Report.” NPR. 17 Dec 2019.

Looking forward to voting for Bernie in Oregon. (@MediaWatch_2020).BREAKING: Biden signaled to his donors today he will not be president for very long…Today he told Georgia donors his VP nominee would have to be prepared to immediately step into the top job.” Twitter. 23 Mar 2020. 

Liptak, Kevin. “Beau Biden, son of vice president and former Delaware AG, dies at 46.” CNN. 31 May 2015.

Medical report of Joe Biden. George Washington University department of medicine. 15 Dec 2019.

Merica, Dan, Arlette Saenz and Sarah Mucha. “Joe Biden said he would pick a woman as his running mate. Here’s who could be on his list.” CNN. 16 Mar 2020.

Smith, Jerry. “Biden would be the oldest sitting president if elected in 2020.” Wilmington News Journal. 8 Mar 2019.

Sotomayor, Marianna, and Tim Stelloh. “Biden has talked with Obama about possible vice presidential pick.” NBC News. 22 Mar 2020.