Fact check: Viral TikTok shows Biden consoling his grandson at Beau Biden’s funeral

The claim: A video shows Biden touching a young boy inappropriately

A viral TikTok video misrepresents a clip of then-Vice President Joe Biden with his grandson to claim that he inappropriately touched the young boy. However, the video neglects to share the context in which it was taken.

The original video and TikTok account have been taken down, however, versions of it continue to spread on other platforms. These posts offer misleading context meant to support the false claim that Biden is a pedophile.

The April 29 video shows Biden holding his grandson’s face, kissing him on the cheek and rubbing the back of his head. It has been viewed more than 120,000 times on TikTok and since been shared several times on Facebook and Instagram. 

Neither the TikTok video nor versions shared on Facebook give any indication that the video was taken at Beau Biden’s funeral.  Beau Biden, Joe Biden’s eldest son, died of brain cancer on May 30, 2015, at age 46. The videos also don’t identify the boy as Robert Hunter Biden II, Beau’s son.

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While the post does not explicitly say Joe Biden was behaving inappropriately, the TikTok sound used and the comments left behind by viewers made the implication clear.

“Two best friends in a room, they might kiss. Yes, we will. What? I said yes we will,” the audio begins before playing the chorus to “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado.

On TikTok, this sound is typically used in videos of couples. The TikTok account that posted this video, @starscree, has used this audio and the hashtag #hidenfrombiden when sharing several misleading videos of Joe Biden with children.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden waves from the top of the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Thursday, April 29, 2021. (Photo: Susan Walsh, AP)

Several Facebook users have called Joe Biden a “creep” and “sick” in one April 30 post’s comment section while others blatantly called him a “pedophile.”

On TikTok, a user commented that the video shows Joe Biden “comforting the child” and @starscree replied that his gesture displayed “inappropriate behavior.”

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USA TODAY reached out to several Facebook users that posted the video for comment. @starscree could not be contacted. 

Video shows Biden comforting grandson

The video was taken at Beau Biden’s funeral service on June 6, 2015, at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware. A longer video of the interaction shows Joe Biden was comforting his grandson, Robert Hunter Biden II, at Beau Biden’s funeral. Beau’s son was 9 years old at the time of his father’s death.

Then Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Senator Joe Biden and his son Beau Biden at the 2008 Democratic National Convention at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado USA. On 30 May 2015, Beau died from brain cancer at the age of 46. (Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh, EPA)

Joe Biden stood behind Robert Biden as his mother Hallie Biden held his hand.  At the time, the extended Biden family was waiting to enter the church after the casket.

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C-SPAN captured the interaction in a nearly three-hour-long video of the service. The interaction occurs 9:35 minutes into the video, which is available here. 

This interaction has been misleadingly shared before

PolitiFact investigated an image of this interaction in March 2019 after Facebook users shared it as evidence of Joe Biden’s purportedly disturbing behavior. In its reporting, PolitiFact reached out to Patrick Semansky, an Associated Press photographer that captured the moment between Joe Biden and his grandson.

“The extended Biden family walked in a procession behind a hearse carrying Beau Biden’s casket,” PolitiFact quoted Semansky. “They stopped roughly 30 feet in front of me, at the church’s front door, as a military honor guard removed the casket from the hearse and carried it inside for a funeral service. At different moments, the VP leaned over to comfort his grandson and granddaughter as they watched the honor guard and then followed the casket inside.”

Joe Biden embraces his grandson Hunter before funeral services his son Beau on June 6, 2015, at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del. The eldest son of the vice president died of brain cancer at age 46. (Photo: Patrick Semansky, AP)

Reuters debunked a similar misrepresentation of this interaction in March 2020.

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Throughout the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden faced several false claims that he was a pedophile. Fact-checkers have repeatedly found them to be baseless.

Our rating: Missing context

We rate the claim that a viral video shows Biden inappropriately touching a young boy as MISSING CONTEXT because without additional information the video clip is misleading. The video was taken at Beau Biden’s funeral and shows Biden comforting his grandson alongside family. 

Our fact-check sources:

  • TikTok, annette, accessed May 4, they might kiss x promiscuous
  • Genius, Nelly Furtado, accessed May 4, Promiscuous
  • C-SPAN, June 6, 2015, Funeral Service for Beau Biden
  • USA TODAY, Jan. 21, Meet the Bidens: A who’s who of the new first family
  • PolitiFact, March 14, 2019, No, this photo doesn’t show Joe Biden engaging in disturbing behavior with a boy
  • El Paso Times, Aug. 24, 2015, Funeral Service for Vice President’s Son, Beau Biden
  • Reuters, March 13, 2020, False claim: Photo shows Joe Biden inappropriately holding boy’s face
  • PolitiFact, Aug. 12, Fact-checking the pedophilia attacks against Joe Biden

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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

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