Social Media Posts Claimed Biden Used N-Word During 1985 Senate Confirmation Hearings. Here's the Full Context

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On May 30, 2024, a former producer for "The Apprentice," the reality TV series former U.S. President Donald Trump co-produced and starred in for 15 years prior to running for office, wrote in a Slate article that Trump had been recorded using the N-word during the show's filming.

As the news began to spread across social media platforms, a similar claim about President Joe Biden using the N-word during his tenure as a U.S. senator began to spread across X:

The videos shared on X, which included a recording of Biden's alleged comments, claimed he said:

"In a confidential portions of your staff memo, they brought to your attention the allegation that important legislators, in defeating the Nunez plan in the basement said, quote, 'we already have a n----- mayor, we don't need any more n----- big shots.'"

We previously fact-checked this claim in 2020, at which time we confirmed that Biden did say those words. As we also noted, however, nearly all of the clips that spread across X omitted crucial context, namely that he was reading a portion of a staff memo out loud.

On June 5, 1985, Biden — who was then a U.S. senator representing Delaware and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee — was questioning William Bradford Reynolds during a series of confirmation hearings to consider whether he should be promoted to associate attorney general from being the head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

The Nunez plan that Biden referenced in the viral quote was a Louisiana redistricting plan that white state officials created that ruled out a majority-Black congressional district in New Orleans, as The Washington Post reported at the time of the hearing.

Biden mentioned the Nunez plan to focus the hearings on voting rights as well as question Reynolds' credibility for the job, as the predecessor in his role at the Justice Department had called the plan a "a blatant racial gerrymander." Biden's efforts in opposing Reynolds were successful, as the Senate Judiciary Committee ultimately rejected his nomination for promotion.

For further reading about the allegations of Trump using the N-word on "The Apprentice," we published an explainer breaking down what we know so far. We've also fact-checked other claims about whether Biden has used the N-word in political office, like the false claim he used the N-word in a 2021 recorded speech.


"Joe Biden Was Quoting Racist Comments When He Used the N-Word in 1985." AP News, 24 July 2020,

Lee, Jessica. "Did Joe Biden Use the N-Word in a Recorded Speech?" Snopes, 25 Feb. 2021,

Pruitt, Bill. "The Donald Trump I Saw on The Apprentice." Slate, 30 May 2024.,

"Reynolds' Foes Claim Moral High Ground." Washington Post, 28 Dec. 2023.,