Fact Check: Joe Biden Did NOT Say 'My Son Has Not Made Money In China' In The First Presidential Debate

Fact Check

  • by: Victoria Eavis

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: Joe Biden Did NOT Say 'My Son Has Not Made Money In China' In The First Presidential Debate Misquoted

Did Joe Biden say "My son has not made money in China" in the first presidential debate? No, that's not true: During the September 29, 2020 debate, Biden addressed the controversy over his son landing overseas work at the time that Biden was vice president and overseeing several aspects of U.S. foreign policy. In response to a long flurry of Trump assertions that included "China...Your son goes in and he takes out... billions of dollars" and "the mayor of Moscow's wife gave your son $3.5 million" Biden said "None of that is true...Totally discredited." Biden addressed the question again in his second debate with Trump, saying then "My son has not made money in terms of this thing about, what are you talking about, China."

The claim appeared in a tweet (archived here) published by One America News Network correspondent, Jack Posobiec, on December 11, 2020. The tweet read:

In the first debate Biden said, 'My son has not made money in China'

This is what the post looked like on Twitter at the time of writing:

Twitter screenshot

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Mon Dec 14 14:39:07 2020 UTC)

The following excerpt from the first debate transcript is the closest Biden got to saying anything similar to the quote Posobiec claimed was said:

45:09 TRUMP: China ate your lunch, Joe. No wonder your son goes in and he takes out what he takes out, billions of dollars. Takes out billions of dollars to manage. He makes millions of dollars. And also, while we're at it, why is it, just out of curiosity, the mayor of Moscow's wife gave your son $3.5 million? What did he do to deserve it? What did he do --

45:34 WALLACE: You asked a question. Let him answer.

45:36 BIDEN: None of that is true.

45:38 TRUMP: Oh, really?

45:39 WALLACE: Mr. President. Mr. President, please. You asked a question--

45:41 BIDEN: Totally discredited. Totally discredited and by the way --

45:46 TRUMP: He did get $3.5 million, Joe?

45:48 WALLACE: Mr. Vice -- Mr. President --

45:49 TRUMP: He got $3.5 million.

BIDEN: That is not true.

TRUMP: Oh, really?

45:52 WALLACE: Mr. President. It's an, it's an open discussion, please. You --

45:55 TRUMP: No. It's a fact.

45:57 WALLACE: Well, you've raised an issue. Let the vice president answer.

45:59 BIDEN: Totally discredit --

TRUMP: -- $183,000a month? With no experience and energy?

46:07 WALLACE: Mr. President, let him answer.

46:08 BIDEN: My son did nothing wrong --

46:09 TRUMP: Yes, he did --

46:10 WALLACE: Mr. President, let him answer.

46:12 BIDEN: He doesn't want to let me answer because he knows I have the truth. His position has been totally, thoroughly discredited --

46:17 TRUMP: By who? The media.

46:20 BIDEN: By everyone, well by the media, by our allies, by the World Bank, by eh- by everyone has discredited. Matter of fact.

Trained as a lawyer, Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company during his father's White House tenure and conducted other business in China. Republicans on the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee investigated and found the younger Biden had extensive dealings, may have profited from association with his famous father, but likely did not break any laws.

Hunter Biden's dealings are now under investigation by the Trump Administration. The Biden-Harris transition team released a statement on December 9, 2020 in which the younger Biden confirmed his taxes are under investigation by the Justice Department:

I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs.

The outcome of this investigation should give more clarity to Hunter Biden's Chinese business ventures.

Posobiec's version of the quote is similar to something Biden said in the second presidential debate on October 22, 2020. The transcript reads:

My son has not made money in terms of this thing about, what are you talking about, China.

Besides getting it wrong about which debate it was, Posobiec's quote omitted the words "in terms of this thing about, what are you talking about." The use of quotation marks implies a word-for-word quote, which it was not.

Updates:

  • 2021-07-07T18:19:12Z 2021-07-07T18:19:12Z
    We added context to our conclusion, noting that Biden did make a similar comment in the SECOND presidential debate, although key words were omitted from the quote. It was not said by Biden in the first debate, as was claimed.

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  Victoria Eavis

Victoria Eavis is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She recently graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. In her last few months at Duke, she was a reporter for a student news site, The 9th Street Journal, that covers the city of Durham, North Carolina. 

Read more about or contact Victoria Eavis

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