On September 21 2020, GOP “rapid response director” Steve Guest tweeted a video which he claimed showed that former U.S. Vice President (and Democratic Party presidential candidate) Joe Biden had “completely” botched the Pledge of Allegiance during a campaign appearance:
Joe Biden completely botches the Pledge of Allegiance:
"I pledge allegiance to the United States of America, one nation, indivisible, under God, for real." pic.twitter.com/Gct4AEVWog
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) September 21, 2020
The eight-second-long video clip was completely stripped of any context, and Guest transcribed Biden’s words in the short video:
I pledge allegiance to the United States of America, one nation, indivisible, under God, for real.
Guest did not provide information about the date, location, or setting in which Biden made the remarks. In an extremely short September 21 2020 blog post by PJ Media (“WATCH: Joe Biden Just Completely Botched the Pledge of Allegiance”) the site embedded Guest’s tweet and claimed:
During a campaign speech on Monday [September 21 2020], Joe Biden attempted to quote the Pledge of Allegiance, and instead delivered a jumbled version of it, saying, “I pledge allegiance to the United States of America, one nation, indivisible, under God, for real.”
I suppose he’ll want credit for including “under God,” but I suspect he only included it because Trump has been calling out the Democrats for excluding it during their convention.
Although the post was very short, PJ Media managed to shoehorn in reference to a previous viral falsehood, holding that Democrats struck out the phrase “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance at the 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC):
In the course of that fact check, we obtained video of the opening portion from all three nights of the August 2020 DNC. “Under God” was recited as part of the pledge in all three official ceremony openings, and on one of the nights, it was also followed directly by a lengthy prayer:
Almighty God, we confess that our nation needs you and has always needed you. We pray for your blessing upon all of us, Republican, Independent, and Democrat. As we strive to form perfect union, we pray for your strength, guidance, and wisdom. Lord, we recognize that we are living in challenging times that call us to live up to the highest angel of our national character. As we confront the turbulent winds of a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, and civil discourse, may your gracious hand lead us to the peaceful shores of love, justice and civility.
Regarding Guest’s tweet in which Biden purportedly “botched” the Pledge of Allegiance, a separate commenter shared more complete footage of his remarks during a visit to Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Biden spoke in Manitowoc on September 21 2020:
— Independent Commentary from a Patriot (@commentary_a) September 22, 2020
Toward the end of the clip at around 22:30, Biden began the portion of the remarks leading to him “botching” the Pledge of Allegiance. In actuality, he was not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, but rather referencing its content in the course of making a larger set of remarks.
Biden said, in part:
“Just a few days ago when I was asked about the death count approaching 200,000, the president said, and I quote, he said — I won’t quote him. The president said if you take out the blue states run by Democratic governors and just look at the red states, Republican governors are doing quite well.
“Now, of course, it’s a simple factual matter, it’s just not true. If you just count all the deaths in the red states, we are number two in the world in deaths just behind Brazil. But more fundamentally it reflects on the part of Donald Trump that he has a deeply flawed and divisive view of the United States, this nation and the job he holds.
“Think about what he’s saying.
“He’s saying if you live in a state like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, states with Democratic governors, you’re not his problem. He has no obligation to you. He’s not responsible for you as president, your family or your well-being.
“I don’t see the presidency that way. I don’t pledge allegiance to red states of America or blue states of America. I pledge allegiance to the United States of America, one nation, indivisible, under God, for real.“
Biden concluded, reiterating his broader point:
“I’m running as a proud Democrat. But I’m not going to govern as a Democratic president, I’m going to governor as president. I get criticized for saying that sometimes to some in my party, but that’s not what I’m going to do. I’m going to fight as hard for those who supported me as those who did not support me.
“This is not a partisan moment, for God’s sake, this has to be an American moment. In the next few weeks, we have a chance to put anger and division and the darkness that’s overtaken this country behind us. We have to put it behind us. I know I’ve been criticized since I entered the primaries about what I said about uniting the country.
“We have to unite the country. This is not who we are. And we can. We’ve done it so many times in our history. We’ve begun anew. If we get control of this virus, we can. We can reward work. We can fix the health care system. We can be a safe and just nation. We can deal with the existential threat of climate change, which aluminum is going to be a gigantic part of. We can be what we are at our best, one nation. One nation. One people. One America. You just have to remember who in God’s name we are. This is the United States of America.
“In our long history, there’s been nothing we’ve been unable to do, nothing we’ve been able to overcome when we’ve done it together. And I’m confident going all over this nation, we can do it together. The American people are hungry. We have to bring the nation together. That’s going to be my primary job. And I want to thank you all. God bless you for what you’re doing. May you all stay safe and may God protect our troops. Thank you so much, Mr. Mayor. Thank you. And thank you ma’am. Appreciate it.”
A Trump “rapid response director” shared a misleading clip to claim that in the video, Biden “completely botches” the Pledge of Allegiance; other sites devoted entire posts to the out-of-context clip to advance the claim that Biden had failed to recite it properly. In actuality, the portion of video was snipped from a far longer segment during which Biden referenced — but did not recite — the Pledge of Allegiance to illustrate a larger point.