Fact Check

Is This a 'Discomforting' Photograph of Joe Biden with a Boy?

"This is a man who thinks he is running for president in 2020?"

Published March 15, 2019

 (Drop of Light / Shutterstock.com)
Image Via Drop of Light / Shutterstock.com
A photograph shows Joe Biden acting in a 'discomforting' manner with a young boy.

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has been the subject of multiple social media-circulated images that seemingly capture him behaving inappropriately towards people, typically in interactions with women and in otherwise innocuous photographs that have been misleadingly manipulated.

Another image of this ilk posted to Facebook in February 2019 seemed to show Biden with his hand clasped over a young boy's mouth, accompanied by text reading: "Countless discomforting photos of @JoeBiden have surfaced but nothing disturbs me more than this one. This is a man who thinks he is running for president in 2020? Pls retweet and spread the awareness for people to look into him. #QAnon #TheStorm #FollowTheWhiteRabbit":

Although the photograph is real, there's nothing "discomforting" about it. The picture (which was cropped substantially in the version seen above) was snapped by Associated Press (AP) photographer Patrick Semansky at the June 2015 funeral of Beau Biden, Joe Biden's eldest son, and it captured the then-vice president comforting his grandson, Hunter, amidst a group of mourners.

The original caption describing the photograph read: "Vice President Joe Biden embraces his grandson Hunter before funeral services for Hunter's father, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, Saturday, June 6, 2015, at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del. Biden, the eldest son of the vice president, died of brain cancer May 30 at age 46."

Other photographs taken by the same photographer at the funeral show Biden kissing the top of his granddaughter's head and walking with his widowed daughter-in-law, her children, and his own wife.

The original photograph, cropped and taken out of context as it was here, might make it appear that Joe Biden was acting "discomfortingly"(or "discomfitingly") towards a child — seemingly clamping the boy's mouth shut while quietly intoning something menacing in his ear. But the full photograph and context clearly reveals that Biden was merely acting kindly towards a bereaved young relative who had just lost his father to cancer.


Lederman, Josh,   "Beau Biden, VP’s Son, Remembered for Life of Service."     Associated Press.   6 June 2015.

AP Images.   "Beau Biden Funeral."     6 June 2015.

AP Images.   "Obama Beau Biden Funeral."     6 June 2015.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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