Facebook Twitter Tumblr Close Skip to main content
A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Putting a Viral Video Clip of Biden in Context

Quick Take

Conservative personalities are sharing a brief video clip showing Joe Biden speaking at an event in September to suggest the Democratic presidential nominee was making a racially insensitive remark. But it misleadingly omits any context for the quote.

Full Story 

A short video clip of former Vice President Joe Biden is circulating on social media, but it misleadingly omits any context for Biden’s words.

The 10-second clip shows Biden only saying, “They’re saying, ‘Jeez, the reason I was able to stay sequestered in my home is because some black woman was able to stack the grocery shelf.'”

Biden did say those words during a Sept. 15 event with veterans in Florida. But the full context of his remarks indicates he was suggesting that Americans are becoming more aware and realizing “we’re all in this together” during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also expressed gratitude for such essential workers.

Here’s a more complete look at what Biden said before and after the quote in question:

Biden, Sept. 15: I am, ironically, more optimistic about the prospects of dealing with the problems we talked about today, as well as so many other problems we have right now, than I’ve ever been in my whole career. And they say, “Well, why in the hell would you say that Biden? You just talked about all these difficulties.” Well, I’ll tell you why. Because the American public, the blinders have been taken off. They’ve all of a sudden seen a hell of a lot clearer. They’re saying, “Jeez, the reason I was able to stay sequestered in my home is because some black woman was able to stack the grocery shelf.” Or “I got a young Hispanic is out there, these dreamers are out there, 60,000 of them acting as first responders and nurses and docs.” Or all of a sudden people are realizing, “My Lord, these people have done so much. Not just black, white, across the board, have done so much for me. We can do this. We can get things done.” And I think they’re ready.

And the irony of all ironies is that I think it’s the vehicle by which we’re going to be able to create really good paying jobs. We’re going to be able to provide for significant healthcare. The idea that in the middle of a pandemic, the worst thing since the great flu back in the turn of the century, where so many people died worldwide, is that, you know, people are figuring out that we’re all in this together. We can get through this if we just level with one another. Just tell the truth, let people know.

The short, out-of-context clip was amplified on Twitter by a contributor for the conservative youth organization Turning Point USA, among others. On Facebook, a columnist for the Patriot Post shared a video of the remark repeating in a loop and wrote, “Biden has #TheHelp who he calls ‘some black woman’ SMH!”

In addition to the video clip, the same select quote has been shared in text form on social media.

Some of the posts sharing the clip attempted to tie it to a comment Biden made in May, when he said, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” Biden later apologized for that comment.

Here’s a video of the veterans event Biden participated in; the video begins at the relevant timestamp.

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.

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


Forgey, Quint and Myah Ward. “Biden apologizes for controversial ‘you ain’t black’ comment.” Politico. 22 May 2020.

Joe Biden Veterans Roundtable Event & Speech Transcript.” Rev.com. 15 Sep 2020.

WATCH: Biden speaks at veterans roundtable in Tampa, Florida.” PBS NewsHour. 15 Sep 2020.