CLAIM: A photo shows President Joe Biden touching a child inappropriately below the waist.
THE FACTS: The photo was digitally altered to make it appear as if Biden’s hands were under the child’s shirt. The original photo, which was taken by an AP photographer in 2021, shows the child stretching their shirt to show the president, who is pointing at the shirt in return. The altered photo, however, appears to show Biden kneeling in front of a child, with his hands underneath the kid’s gray shirt.
The photo was shared on Instagram with a caption above the photo that reads, “This is what people ‘voted’ for?” The original photo was taken on Oct. 15, 2021, while Biden was visiting the Capitol Child Development Center in Hartford, Conn. In the original, the child is stretching their top to show the president, and Biden is pointing at the shirt. A comparison of the two images shows the version circulating on social media has been altered to move the child closer to Biden, and another child standing in the background against a fence has been edited out. A watermark faintly visible on the doctored photo is the name of a Twitter user who regularly posts altered videos that are satirical. They shared the altered image on Twitter in December 2022.
C-SPAN also captured video of the moment the photo was taken, and confirms Biden never touched the child in the way the edited image suggests. The footage shows Biden talking to the children at the playground and later giving the child in the photo a hug.
— Associated Press writer Karena Phan in Los Angeles contributed this report.