Fact Check: Biden campaign did not give Kenosha speaker a paper with questions

CLAIM: A Black woman speaking at a community event with Joe Biden in Kenosha, Wisconsin, exposed the Democratic presidential candidate by saying she would not “go off” a paper she was provided by his campaign.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Porsche Bennett was given the paper to read by her organization, not by Biden’s campaign.

THE FACTS: Social media users are circulating a video clip of Bennett speaking at Biden’s event on Thursday at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha. Former Vice President Biden visited Kenosha in response to protests and unrest that followed the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white Kenosha police officer on Aug. 23.

At the event, Bennett goes to the microphone and says: “I’m just going to be honest Mr. Biden, I was told to go off this paper, but I can’t. We need the truth and I am a part of the truth.”

Posts online are misrepresenting what Bennett said to suggest that Biden’s campaign gave her a paper to read at the event. Bennett told reporters after speaking that she was given the paper by Black Lives Activists Kenosha (BLAK), where she is an organizer.

Biden’s campaign told the AP that when Bennett said she was going off script, she was referring to prewritten questions given to her by her organization. The campaign said it did not provide any scripts or written material for participants to read.

The Trump War Room, an official Twitter account for the president’s campaign, tweeted the video of Bennett on Thursday, stating: “Woman at Biden event in Kenosha says she was given a “paper” telling her what to say.” The tweet was retweeted thousands of times.

The clip of Bennett was widely shared across Facebook and Twitter saying that Bennett revealed that Biden’s campaign handed out questions.

“AMERICA EXPOSES BIDEN‼️ @JoeBiden & his Dem handlers give out questions to constituents to ask ONLY what THEY wrote down. Porsche Bennett was not having that!,” one tweet said.

 At the event, Bennett said her community was angry over the shooting of Blake, and demanded change.

Biden spoke by phone to Blake, who was shot seven times by the officer. Biden said Blake “talked about how nothing was going to defeat him, about how whether he walked again or not, he was not going to give up.”

Blake’s family members have said he is paralyzed from the waist down. The shooting remains under investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536

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