Fact Check: No, Biden Did Not Have a Maskless Birthday Party

A tweet wishing President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. happy birthday last week generated false rumors that Mr. Biden marked his 78th birthday on Friday with a maskless party.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta tweeted a video of herself celebrating with Mr. Biden as a crowd sang happy birthday. She later noted that the video was shot in 2019, on Mr. Biden’s 77th birthday, at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta after that night’s Democratic debate.

Mr. Biden is wearing the same red tie in the video as he did in the debate. A video of the same event taken from a different angle shows television screens with the words “Debate Viewing Party” hanging on the walls.

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Mr. Biden has consistently worn masks during the pandemic, and has been mocked by President Trump for doing so.

Apart from the inaccurate claims that the video was shot this year, some online commentators used the video to criticize the restrictions on Americans’ Thanksgiving plans that have been urged by public health officials, including those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Though the video shows a large, prepandemic gathering, it has nothing to do with Thanksgiving specifically.)

The claims follow several accurate reports about other Democratic politicians flouting social distancing guidelines. Photos have emerged showing a maskless Gov. Gavin Newsom of California attending a dinner at an expensive restaurant in Napa Valley and the state’s senior senator, Dianne Feinstein, wandering the corridors of Congress without a mask. In New York, local Democratic leaders mingled recently at a birthday party in Brooklyn, rarely wearing masks.

Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were in Wilmington, Del., on Friday, meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader. They sat several feet apart, wearing masks, and Ms. Pelosi gave Mr. Biden a white orchid for his birthday.

source: nytimes.com