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Fact check: Joe Biden didn't have a birthday party without masks. The video is from 2019.

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 11/24/2020 Camille Caldera, USA TODAY
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The claim: A video shows Joe Biden celebrating his birthday last week without a face mask

a man wearing a suit and tie: President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. © Alex Brandon, AP President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware.

Last week, President-elect Joe Biden celebrated his 78th birthday.

To mark the occasion, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tweeted a video of herself next to Biden, leading a crowd in a chorus of "Happy Birthday."

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"Wishing our President-Elect @joebiden a VERY Happy Birthday from the great Blue state of Joe’gia!" she wrote.

Soon, the video had spread across the internet as apparent proof that Bottoms, Biden, and others were not wearing masks to protect against the coronavirus. 

Conservatives Today and Daily Patriot Post — conservative online news websites — pointed to the video as evidence of hypocrisy.

"You’re not allowed to have Thanksgiving with a few of your family members, but Joe Biden and his hundreds of pals can all get together, mask-free, and party like it’s 1999," their identical articles read. "Why, if you looked at this video and didn’t know better, you’d think there was absolutely no 'COVID pandemic' at all," both articles also read.

Conservatives Today and Daily Patriot Post could not be reached for comment.

The Cambodian Broadcasting Network shared a different clip of the birthday celebration with Bottoms and Biden and claimed that it had occurred "yesterday."

"So Biden can have a birthday party yesterday but we can’t have Thanksgiving? Not a single mask. No social distancing," its post read. "They’re singing happy birthday in a crowd but singing in Church is dangerous? It’s time to #FightBack."

The Cambodian Broadcasting Network has not responded to a request from USA TODAY for comment. 

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The video was made in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic

In reality, the footage of Biden, Bottoms and others celebrating without masks was made in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.

After the outcry, Bottoms took to Twitter to clarify the context of the video she had shared.

"Pre-Covid! This was in the @TPStudios White House following the @DNC @msnbc debate on 11/20/19," she wrote, referring to Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.

Details in the video confirm the time and place the footage was taken.

For example, the red tie that Biden is sporting in the clip is the same tie he wore at that night's debate, per the New York Times. 

Television screens with the words “Debate Viewing Party” are also visible in the video that The Cambodian Broadcasting Company shared, and in clips from other angles.

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In 2020, Biden spent his birthday masked and in meetings

In 2020, Biden spent his birthday meeting with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer D-N.Y., in Wilmington, Delaware.

Biden, Harris, Pelosi, and Schumer all wore face masks and sat several feet from each other around a large rectangular table, per the New York Times. It was their first in-person meeting since the election.

Though the meeting focused on coronavirus and the economy, Pelosi still brought a birthday present for Biden — a white orchid.

This is not the first time photos of Biden and other Democrats from before the pandemic have been used to claim that they are not following public health guidance on mask-wearing and social distancing.

In fact, USA TODAY has debunked at least four other similar claims since July.

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Our rating: False

Based on our research, the claim that a video shows Joe Biden celebrating his birthday last week without a face mask is FALSE. The video was from 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic necessitated the use of masks. On his birthday in 2020, Biden wore a mask for a meeting with fellow Democratic leaders.

Our fact-check sources:

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Joe Biden didn't have a birthday party without masks. The video is from 2019.

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