Joe Biden targeted in misleading posts picturing granddaughter
Social media posts claim a video viewed hundreds of thousands of times shows Joe Biden emerging from Air Force One with a little boy dressed in a romper. This is false; the US president was traveling with his 18-year-old granddaughter Natalie Biden.
"Awful young looking boy in a dress Mr Former vice President, what were you two doing on that plane??" says a March 15, 2023 tweet sharing a clip viewed more than 560,000 times.
Screenshot from Twitter taken March 17, 2023
Similar posts spread the footage across Twitter and other platforms, including Facebook and TikTok.
"This just makes me so pissed off! Biden coming down the airplane stairs with a boy dressed in a girls romper!" says text in one TikTok video with more than 245,000 views.
The claims build on a baseless narrative -- fueled by supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory and in some instances by former US president Donald Trump -- that Biden abuses women and children.
The person pictured descending the jetway alongside the US president is Natalie Biden, the daughter of his late son Beau Biden, who died of cancer in 2015.
The footage shows Biden's March 14, 2023 arrival in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he spoke the next day about prescription drug costs.
AFP captured photos that confirm the person trailing him on the steps was Natalie Biden, who wore her hair pulled back. Local news outlets such as the Nevada Independent and the Las Vegas Sun identified her as well.
US President Joe Biden and Natalie Biden step off Air Force One upon arrival at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, on March 14, 2023 ( AFP / Jim WATSON)
During a March 13 press gaggle aboard an Air Force One flight to San Diego, California, a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about Natalie Biden's presence on the trip.
"As you know, the president’s family tends to travel with him -- right? -- pretty often," Jean-Pierre said, according to the official White House transcript. "So that’s not uncommon. Natalie is on spring break. And so, she joined her -- she wanted to spend time with her pop. So, she joined her pop on this trip."
AFP reached out to the White House for additional comment, but no response was forthcoming.
The video misrepresented online is a snippet from a March 15, 2023 episode of a Fox Business Network television program that aired footage of Biden's arrival. AFP found the segment, which shows Natalie Biden more clearly as she walks down the ramp, by searching the Internet Archive's TV News Archive.
Using PimEyes, a facial recognition search engine, AFP matched screenshots from the Fox Business Network segment to photos of Natalie Biden.
AFP has debunked other visuals purporting to show inappropriate conduct from the US president here and here.