Edited clip distorts old Biden campaign speech

·2-min read

Social media users are sharing a clip that appears to depict US President Joe Biden calling Mexicans "rapists." But the video has been misleadingly edited; the full footage shows Biden was referring to comments from former president Donald Trump.

"Joe Biden & rapist Mexicans," says the caption of a YouTube short published August 12, 2022.

The clip recirculated on Facebook in the lead-up to the May 11, 2023 expiration of Title 42, a pandemic-era program that Trump introduced to swiftly expel people trying to enter the United States.

"I'm going to take on those rapist Mexicans," Biden appears to say in the video.

<span>Screenshot of a YouTube short taken May 11, 2023</span>
Screenshot of a YouTube short taken May 11, 2023

Biden has faced criticism from both sides of the aisle for his handling of migration along the US-Mexico border. House Republicans passed a bill May 11 that would reintroduce Trump-era measures such as border wall construction and asylum restrictions, but the measure will likely die in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The clip shared online has been deceptively edited -- the full footage shows Biden was paraphrasing comments from his predecessor.

The video shows a speech (archived here) Biden gave in San Antonio, Texas in December 2019 while campaigning for the 2020 US election. Here are the president's remarks, in context:

"This election is about the soul of our nation, and Donald Trump has poisoned our soul. He fans the flames of hate: hate groups, white supremacists here at home.
"Coming down the escalator when he announced in Trump Towers, he said -- he was doing it before he hit the ground floor. Remember what he said? He said: 'I am going to take on those rapist Mexicans.'"

In his June 2015 campaign announcement (archived here), Trump said: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you, they're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems -- and they're bringing those problems with us.

"They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people."

Trump was later asked in a CNN interview if he regretted associating Mexicans with the word "rapists."

"No, not at all," the then-Republican presidential candidate said, adding that he had a "great relationship" with Mexico.

The US-Mexico border has been a topic of considerable misinformation. AFP has fact-checked other claims about the end of Title 42 here, here and here.