Fact check: Biden did tell a Detroit worker 'I'm not working for you' during gun rights argument

Ella Lee, USA TODAY

The claim: Joe Biden told a factory worker 'I don’t work for you'

A viral social media post claims Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden isn’t the public servant he’s made out to be.

The meme, shared on Facebook, depicts an encounter between Joe Biden and a person wearing a helmet who is turned away from the camera. There’s a speech bubble over Biden’s head which reads “I don’t work for you!” as Biden points at the person, insinuating he said that to the person.

“Remember this on Election Day 2020,” the text on the image reads.

The person who posted the meme, which has been shared 63,000 times, did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.

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Yes, Biden said that, but context is missing

In March, Biden got into a heated exchange over gun rights with a factory worker at an auto plant in Detroit, USA TODAY previously reported.

“You’re working for me, man,” the worker told Biden.

“I’m not working for you,” Biden said. “Give me a break, man. Don’t be such a horse’s a--.”

But the conversation between the two before those words were exchanged provides additional context to the quote in the meme.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden clashes with a worker in Detroit on March 10, 2020.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden clashes with a worker in Detroit on March 10, 2020.

As Biden was making his way through a crowd of workers at the Fiat Chrysler plant, one person stopped him and accused him of “actively trying to end our Second Amendment right” and “take away our guns.”

The former vice president told the worker that he wasn't accurately describing his stance on gun control, calling him "full of s---." An aide seemingly attempted to curb the conversation, at which point Biden appeared to shush him, as seen in a video of the encounter recorded by CBS News.

Biden explained his stance on the Second Amendment, comparing its limits to those on the First Amendment right of free speech. He also said he owned shotguns and that his sons hunt.

The exchange continued to grow more tense as the man repeated his accusation that Biden pledged to take away peoples’ guns. The worker fired back that he'd seen a "viral video" of the former vice president saying he'd take away peoples' guns.

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Biden said the videos the worker was referring to were "simply a lie." A number of manipulated videos of Biden have circulated on social media. He denied again the notion that he would confiscate guns, and argued back that there's no plausible need for semi-automatic rifles, mistakenly calling them "AR-14s."

More words were said between the two, which cannot be heard clearly on the video. The next clear language was the exchange between Biden and the worker about who works for whom.

The photo used in the meme was taken by photographer Mandel Ngan for AFP via Getty Images. Biden was not holding public office at the time the video was taken, though he was running for president.

In response to USA TODAY's request for comment, Biden spokesperson Matt Hill pointed to a fact check by PolitiFact of the same comment.

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Our rating: Missing context

We rate the claim that Biden told a factory worker “I don’t work for you” as MISSING CONTEXT because it may mislead some without additional information. The worker and Biden argued over gun control and Second Amendment rights before the statement was made. The encounter took place on March 10 at an auto plant in Detroit.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Yes, Biden told Detroit worker 'I'm not working for you'