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Photo of Biden without mask was taken in 2019

November 2, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: A photo of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden talking to a campaign staffer without a mask on a plane, begs the question: “Joe Biden doesn’t wear a mask on a plane but wears one outside?” 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The photo was taken in November 2019. At that point in the campaign, the new coronavirus had not emerged globally so Biden did not wear a mask anywhere. 

THE FACTS: A photo of Biden on a plane talking with his traveling national press secretary, Remi Yamamoto, both without masks, was taken in November 2019, not recently. 


The photo was featured in a Vogue magazine article last week about Yamamoto and her role in the campaign. Conservative Twitter users seized on the image Sunday night, claiming it shows a hypocritical Biden not following recommended mask guidelines while traveling on a plane. 

But the caption on that image notes that it was captured in November 2019 while Biden was traveling to South Carolina, before COVID-19 was even identified as a worldwide health threat.

Associated Press reporting confirms Biden traveled to South Carolina in late November of last year, making a campaign stop at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina, on Nov. 21. The next day, he stopped at a soul food restaurant in Abbeville and filed paperwork to run in the state’s presidential primary. 


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: