Fake News: Joe Biden Did NOT Endorse Claim That Gun Owners Are 'White Supremacists'

Fact Check

  • by: Ryan Cooper
Fake News: Joe Biden Did NOT Endorse Claim That Gun Owners Are 'White Supremacists'

Did Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden endorse a claim that gun owners are "white supremacists"? No, that's not true: A meme from the National Rifle Association implies that Biden made a sweeping claim that all gun owners are white supremacists. In actuality, Biden was commenting on a tweet that mentioned white supremacists who threatened violence at a pro-gun rally earlier this week in Virginia. His comments were praising gun safety advocates and offered no attacks on gun owners or rallygoers.

The claim originated from a post (archived here) published by NRA - National Rifle Association of America on January 22, 2020, under the title "Joe Biden Endorses Claim That Gun Owners Are 'White Supremacists.'" It opened:

Joe Biden praised a Bloomberg-funded gun control group for referring to the TENS OF THOUSANDS of PEACEFUL, LAW-ABIDING gun owners in Richmond as "white supremacists."

Remember this at the ballot box.

Users on social media saw this:

The meme is being used to claim that Biden, the vice president under President Obama, believes gun owners are "white supremacists" or endorses a claim that purportedly makes the same generalization. However, the original tweet does not say that all people who attended the pro-gun rally in Richmond, Virginia, on January 20, 2020, were racial bigots.

In court filings on Tuesday, federal prosecutors said that three alleged white supremacists were planning deadly attacks at the Richmond rally in the hopes of inciting a "full-blown civil war," according to The Washington Post.

Here is what Biden said in his tweet:

The NRA post links to a Breitbart story that also claims Biden was "endorsing the view of 13 activists labeling Virginia attendees 'white supremacists.'"

Readers of the article may infer that Biden and the young activists believe all pro-gun rallygoers are white supremacists. However, neither Biden nor the young activists made any such sweeping claim.

Concerns had been building online in recent weeks that the rally at the State Capitol would attract extremists, anti-government militia groups and white supremacists - in addition to law-abiding gun owners who do not support those fringe groups.

The Post reported that there were no reports of violence, and authorities made only one arrest at the rally.

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  Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is the former Director of Programming at CNN International, where he helped shape the network's daily newscasts broadcast to more than 280 million households around the world. He was based at the network's Los Angeles Bureau. There, he managed the team responsible for a three-hour nightly program, Newsroom LA.

Formerly, he worked at the headquarters in Atlanta, and he spent four years at the London bureau. An award-winning producer, Cooper oversaw the network's Emmy Award-winning coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011. He also served as a supervising producer during much of the network's live reporting on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006, for which CNN received an Edward R. Murrow Award.

Read more about or contact Ryan Cooper

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