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Biden did not use teleprompter to answer reporters’ questions

July 2, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: During a press conference, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden relied on a teleprompter to answer reporters’ questions. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The teleprompter was not turned on when the former vice president was answering questions. 

THE FACTS: On Wednesday, President Donald Trump falsely accused Biden of reading pre-prepared answers off a teleprompter. 

“Biden was asked questions at his so-called Press Conference yesterday where he read the answers from a teleprompter. That means he was given the questions, just like Crooked Hillary. Never have seen this before!” Trump tweeted, later repeating the false claim on Fox News Business Network. 

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Similar claims circulated widely on social media platforms. 

Biden campaign national press secretary TJ Ducklo called Trump’s allegation “laughable, ludicrous, and a lie.” He confirmed that the teleprompter was turned off after Biden finished his prepared remarks.

The Associated Press, which asked the first question at the Tuesday briefing, confirmed in a fact-check published Wednesday it did not submit questions in advance.

Video footage capturing the nearly 30-minute long Q&A, shows that when Biden was responding to a question, he often looked directly at the reporter. The questions ranged from alleged Russian bounties to the Taliban on U.S. troops in Afghanistan to African American women candidates for Supreme Court. 

His answers were at times long-winded, without the practiced pauses typically heard in prepared speeches.

Trump’s son Eric Trump helped spread the false claim, tweeting about it twice, including on Thursday: “Today is July 2nd and it has been 91 days*** since #JoeBiden held a press conference (*** Press conferences with preapproved puppet journalists asking preapproved softball questions while getting fed notes on teleprompters, don’t count.”

Some Twitter users posted about the false claim before Trump’s remarks: “Why does Joe Biden need a teleprompter at a Press Conference to answer reporters questions? I’d say, “Dementia Joe” is fed the answers he doesn’t know or can’t remember,” wrote a Twitter user on June 30. 

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Trump’s accusation reflected his tactic of trying to stir doubts about Biden’s mental acuity.

The president’s reference to Hillary Clinton was based on an episode in the 2016 campaign when Donna Brazile was fired as a contributor to CNN for tipping off the Clinton campaign about debate topics earlier in the year during the primary. Brazile was a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee when she passed along topics and then interim DNC chair when those actions came to light in the fall. She is now a Fox News contributor.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536