Fact check: Biden did not say ‘his people’ would burn, loot and kill if he loses the election
McKenzie SadeghiUSA TODAY0:061:14https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.415.1_en.html#goog_1739202933
The claim: Joe Biden said ‘if he loses, his people will keep burning, looting and killing’
In late August, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivered a speech in Pittsburgh regarding law enforcement and public safety and criticized President Donald Trump for inciting violence amid racial justice protests.
Viral posts on Facebook claim that during those remarks, Biden said violence would continue if he lost the Nov. 3 election.
“Biden said today, if he loses, his people will keep burning, looting and killing, He said it,” reads an Aug. 31 Facebook post that has been shared over 11,000 times. The same claim was also shared by some users on Twitter.
The user behind the post did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
USA TODAY has previously debunked similarfalse claims alleging that Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, have not condemned violence and rioting.
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Biden never said this
During Biden’s 24-minute speech in Pittsburgh, which can be viewed on C-SPAN, Biden criticized Trump’s “law and order” message and asked voters if they felt safer with the rising amount of COVID-19 deaths and homicide rates.
“Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters?” Biden asked. “I want a safe America, safe from COVID, safe from crime and looting, safe from radically motivated violence, safe from bad cops.”
The former vice president went on to say that “rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It’s lawlessness, plain and simple,” adding that, “those who do it should be prosecuted.”
“Violence will not bring change, it will only bring destruction. It’s wrong in every way. It divides instead of unites, destroys businesses, only hurts the working families that serve the community. It makes things worse across the board, not better,” Biden said.
Biden also criticized Trump for refusing to call on his own supporters to stop violence and said, “we have a president who fans the flames rather than fighting the flames.”
At no point in the speech did Biden say violence would continue if he loses the election.
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Our ruling: False
The claim that Biden said on Aug. 31 that “his people” would continue looting, burning and killing if he lost the election is FALSE, based on our research. Biden said the opposite during his speech and condemned rioting and violence. Get the Checking the Facts newsletter in your inbox.
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Our fact-check sources:
- C-Span, Aug. 31, Joe Biden Delivers Remarks on Public Safety and Law Enforcement
- Rev, Aug. 31, Joe Biden Pittsburgh Speech Transcript August 31
- USA TODAY, Aug. 31, Biden hits back on Trump’s attacks: ‘Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters?’
- PolitiFact, Sept. 25, No, Biden didn’t say his people would commit violence if he loses the election
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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.