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Trump campaign ad used altered photos to make Biden appear to be ‘alone’ when he wasn’t

August 5, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Photos that appear in a campaign ad for President Donald Trump show that former Vice President Joe Biden is “alone” and “hiding” in “his basement.” 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: At least two of the photos were taken long before the coronavirus outbreak, at events where Biden was with many other people, and were altered to remove people and objects and make him appear to be “alone” and “hiding.”

THE FACTS: President Donald Trump’s campaign released an ad on social media containing multiple doctored photos of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in an attempt to cast Biden in a light that he is alone and hiding out. 


“Deep in the heart of Delaware, Joe Biden sits in his basement. Alone. Hiding. Diminished,” a narrator in the ad states. The Twitter account @TeamTrump posted the video on Wednesday. The post was retweeted over 2,300 times. 

One photo featured in the video has been altered to make it appear as though Biden is sitting alone, and there is no one behind him. In the original photo, Biden is surrounded by people. Photographer Liz Martin for The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa,  took the photo, which shows Biden sitting on the floor, while watching the Holiday Bowl football game last December at the home of  Mayor John Lundell in Coralville, Iowa. 

In another instance, the ad features a photo of Biden looking down, touching his forehead. Again, the ad makes it appear like Biden is alone. The original photo by photographer Mark Peterson for Redux Pictures shows that Biden was holding a microphone while speaking at a town hall meeting at the Indian Creek Nature Preserve in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sept. 20, 2019. 


The microphone and background were edited out in the ad to make it appear Biden is in an empty room. 

Another image featured in the video was taken by AP photographer Andrew HarnikTo illustrate that Biden is allegedly “defeated,”  the ad takes the photo of Biden praying at the Bethel AME Church on June 1 in Wilmington, Delaware, out-of-context. The ad blurs out details that show Biden is praying in a church. He was at the church for an in-person discussion with Black leaders following the death of George Floyd, during which he vowed to address institutional racism in his first 100 days in office.

The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the images in the ad.


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: