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Biden did not wear a wire during the presidential debate

September 30, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Video footage and photos from the presidential debate show that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was wearing a wire. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The images viewed up close and from different angles show a crease in Biden’s shirt and rosary beads that he wears to honor his late son. 

THE FACTS: On Tuesday night, posts circulated on social media with low quality footage from the debate falsely suggesting that the former vice president wore a wire under his jacket. 


The 14-second clip was widely shared across social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok. The grainy video was viewed more than 2 million times on Twitter and more than  290,000 times on Facebook by Wednesday morning. 

The video was promoted by pro-Trump and conservative-leaning pages and groups on Facebook and trended on Twitter with the hashtag #JoeWired with more than 60,000 tweets. 

“I REST MY CASE! Biden is WEARING a WIRE in the FIRST 2020 debate,” one post on Facebook said. 

Several recordings from multiple media outlets show a clearer view of the moment where Biden adjusts his suit jacket, revealing a crease on his shirt, not a wire. 

While some posts zoomed in on Biden’s shirt near his lapel to make the false claim, others used photos or videos that captured something sticking out from under his shirt cuff. In fact, Biden was wearing his late son Beau’s rosary beads on his wrist. Photos and video from the debate show the rosary peeking out of his cuff. Biden has often spoken out about wearing the beads. 

Biden’s campaign confirmed to The Associated Press that the Democratic presidential candidate wore the rosary last night at the debate. 

“I have not taken off the rosary Beau was wearing when he passed since then but it’s my connection with him,” Biden said in a 2017 interview with Megyn Kelly TODAY. 

In recent weeks, posts online have circulated falsely claiming that Biden is using a teleprompter to be fed information during interviews and town halls to paint the picture that Biden is unfit for office.


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: